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Woman to Man

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Lightning hits the roof,
shoves the knife, darkness,
deep in the walls.
They bleed light all over us
and your face, the fan, folds up,
so I won’t see how afraid
to be with me you are.
We don’t mix, even in bed,
where we keep ending up.
There’s no need to hide it:
you’re snow, I’m coal,
I’ve got the scars to prove it.
But open your mouth,
I’ll give you a taste of black
you won’t forget.
For a while, I’ll let it make you strong,
make your heart lion,
then I’ll take it back.


Ai, “Woman to Man” from Cruelty (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1973). Copyright © 1973 by Ai. Reprinted with the permission of the author.
Source: Cruelty (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1973)
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Woman to Man

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