When I was young my body was money. I bought what I thought would please me. I would have married a man who kissed the fine fan of bones in my foot. I squandered my pretty breasts and thighs, looking for him. I never slept beside those men. I sat on their laps and pulled kisses from their mouths—but I never did sleep. Never dreamed. I couldn’t let them see that in me: my pictures of red flowers, scented lakes, damask, orange trees. In dreams I breathed water. In dreams I flew. After a man left I’d stand a long time in front of the mirror, brushing my hair. Thinking. My belly’s empty and I want something sweet. My belly’s empty and I want something salt. My belly’s empty and I want a bitter thing. Somewhere there is a bird like my soul.
From Magdelena by Maureen Gibbon. Copyright © 2007 by Maureen Gibbon. Reprinted by permission of White Pine Press.