Poem Suite: Becoming – The Feminist Wire

Poem Suite: Becoming

In our Poem Suites, we bring together the voices of emerging and established poets exploring a common theme. In today’s Poem Suite, two poets explore processes of change, motion, and becoming from feminist perspectives. 





From “Lesion”

By Indrani Sengupta




overgrown freckle.

overzealous lovemark not love

mark, you lie

in wine red rivulets. your lattice

of circlets, your perverse symmetry

offends me double. you seam

me like cloth, with even little

writer steps. I cannot read

your put-upon pretty


that woman whose hung

head is not praying


this gaping neck not lace


body be honest you

are more than this you

are throated entropy




rice was thrown.


we were met upon a chapel

lawn. I wore white he wore

his features gentle, his feet

bare to merge with the earth

gave me secret thrill like to

sight a darkling fawn


then he let me step upon his hand

or he took my foot up in his hand

or my foot fit small inside his hand


whichever and

in every incarnation

my mother wears black




when do I ascend to throned womanhood?


mother, you are unabashedly,

and I am mothered. I wore the slippers and

suffered the slips of hands still I am

unchanged but for the changeless

bleeding. And I met a man.

I read books, write letters home but he

reads the fortune on my back and says

watch the ceiling, watch the ceiling

this is not my native bleeding

this is not what daddy did to you

this is not what good brothers do




the fairest flesh is swift to rose


and I, best rose in seven gardens

I, the living document of raging, am told

wear it open on your skin like a gifted thing


look how far desire goes

to give so deep —

the length of nails!


and I, convenient temple

when fingered morning

disturbs him




the mares that I called mine


that I named for the cooing clucking

of a girlish intelligence

stamp at the ground about their feet

heavy from the wet unwanted kissing;

do not run anymore, do not eat their

once-loved grain; become skeletal,

like pictures in gray books, like

stars approaching the likeness

of a thing but never the flesh of it

upon the bridal

bed of my skin

he reads my

labored breath

as a phrase

for desire





my fingers tarry over the

injuries of pears, and how

they overswell there, as

if to expel the skin made

other, the otherskin

at proximity between

scab and nail, I become

an animal. there is no time

beyond the hundred little

nipples he’s carved me

he says stop and no

(pins my hand to table)

it does not become

a girl to pick

when It became a Girl

we should have all sunk

to knees and cried



Entrenched in My Own Form

By Liz Cambra


Entrenched in my own form, I grew precise

to my own pleasures. Privacy held me like a parsnip

in the silt. I grew delighted without futurism. After all,

there was a house,

my house,

to eat pudding in, polish my sentences, do

the utmost ambulations

of my personality. So I wrote about my fear

of man, which is not the fear

of night or the fear of robbery but is the fear

of my predilection to let them,

to have invited them into my house.

In a caul of sweat, I wrote and knew

there was pearlescent meat inside me not edible

meat not pig meat but luminous paper-white

tiles of insides. No decadence here, none

available to discard. This is how I live:

with exactitude welling up in the throat,

sure as hindsight, ringing out among the other

portraitable facts.






Photo (1)Indrani Sengupta is an MFA student in poetry at Boise State University. In her writing, she is concerned with the anxieties of the I and how they manifest in fairy tales and the Gothic, how queer multiplicity is both a happy holism and an unbearable fracturing, how the grotesque mind and the lyric tongue can meld to make something strange, perverse, and beautiful. Currently, she is working on a book of revisionist queer-feminist fairy tale poems, in which characters become self-aware and start toying with the seams of the original text.




Liz lives in California and teaches ESL for anyone that is interested. She’s attended poetry workshops at Sarah Lawrence College.