2-Sided Map Shows Line Where Falling Bodies Will Land

From where are we getting this information? A woman god?
I don’t think so. 

Fem greatness only ever declines on this graph
showing allowable outcomes. 

Know-it-all women decline know-it-all men 
because know-it-all men know so little it’d fit in a rice pot. 

I make my facts and data from internal sources, secret sauces.
I know better. No one knows better one’s own side of things

but knowing how to convince the true authority
on the matter that you are  

the true authority on the matter—
well…. Haven’t we all fallen for that, once?

Off-grid, between us, can you imagine knowing yourself
well enough to believe you know others as well?

This Very Dance called Every Rise, Each Fall. The one 
you must know and show in order to get anywhere in this society. 

In this stinkin’ society where you can’t even say the word
religion (doesn’t matter which) without your back

seizing up out of nowhere. I don’t know if we’re in the middle
of the ending or the beginning of some new concussion. 

I have my doubts. I think we might be fucked. 
We need some woman-greatness.

Some entity that won’t exist unless we all come together
and wish very hard for her to swim 

to our dreamy poolsides. She’d come in summer,
while everyone still wishes very hard to have a fun time.

To relax, melt in the sun, miss work. 
Float free in the water, alive-alive, not think about 

who got shot, who next, and who is right now
falling from the sky, from one side to the other one side. 

Copyright © 2024 by Brenda Shaughnessy. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 14, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets.