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Whole Woman

by Aline Soules

After surgery, Ruth said no
to all the devices the doctors
and nurses and social workers offered.
She went to the store
and bought man's shirts,
thick and flannel for winter.
When her hair began to fall out,
leaving stringy grey tufts,
she made an appointment
to get it cut off.  Her hairdresser
couldn't bring herself to do it,
so she went to a barber,
an ex-marine who knew what to do.
When children stared, she smiled
and waved and said it's okay.
When clerks were unsure
how to serve her in stores,
or shied away, or dropped their eyes,
she held up her head and carried on
without missing a beat.
She found out which of her women
friends would go with her
to a concert or a play.  When she died,
she left letters naming them

"Whole Woman" was originally published in Variations of the Ordinary, Plain View Press, 1995. "The inspiration for this poem was a woman I knew personally-a woman of courage and good sense who lived life completely." Aline Soules

Aline Soules' work has appeared in journals, e-zines, and anthologies such as 100 Words, Literature of the Expanding Frontier, Variations on the Ordinary, and The Size of the World. Prose poems from Meditation on Woman have appeared in such publications as Poetry Midwest and the Kenyon Review. The book length manuscript will be published by Anaphora Literary Press in 2012. Poems from Evening Sun have appeared in Kaleidowhirl, Reed, Shaking Like a Mountain, and The Houston Literary Review. Her blog: http://alinesoules.wordpress.com.