Poetry / Hannah Donovan
:: Willow ::
Does she bleed anymore? I’ll have to look it up. I keep thinking about the plastic diagram of a woman’s anatomy in the science classroom, the great hollowed bean where the bloomed iris of reproduction sits. In a dream, a careless knock sends it to scatter on the floor, ovaries rolling under desks to collect dust. Life continues. I’m aware of how full a body feels. I run thoughts of touch, of climax, and my pelvis swells. I run the pavements and my pelvis thuds. I can’t imagine such emptiness. They scraped her out. A radical hysterectomy. A restructured vagina. Rounds of radiation. I thought of her the other day as I did the dishes, scouring the frying pan with steel wool. I cried so hard I filled the sink. The drain was slow to empty. It held everything. I hated its ability. Malpractice shouldn’t roll off the tongue like it does. It should require spit, a throaty cough, a sharp taste. We are not martyrs, we are matrons. Please look to our bodies with blades of scrutiny, waves of patience. Please believe us when we say “it hurts here.”
From the writer
:: Account ::
I spend a lot of time thinking about the feminine experience. Whether that’s my own experience or the experience of others, I am at many moments preoccupied with the societal, interpersonal, and physical issues that befall those who identify as women. The specifics of the poems I write are always a bit different, but the themes I consistently examine are ones that are closely tied to womanhood*. My general hope and intention in writing is to unearth the unexcavated truths in myself and to also offer comfort, perspective, or a mixture of the two to those who read my work and can find common threads.
In “Willow,” I write to bring light to a family member’s pain, I write to soften the blow of the news, I write to understand my anger toward situations in which women are written off as hysterical or over-dramatic and suffer because of it. The poem is somewhat fragmented, equal parts lost in thought and rooted in tactile daily life. The structure serves to mimic how one processes a heavy experience: piecemeal. Sudden and sharp. Pensive and nostalgic, then, in an instant, sad or enraged.
(*These statements are inclusive to everyone who identifies as a woman, regardless of sex assigned at birth.)
Hannah Donovan is a poet, photographer, and visual artist from Northern California. Her work has been featured in Hobart, Else Journal, Hill Lily Magazine, The Artist Essentials, and at the Black Box Gallery in Portland, OR. Her latest chapbook, Ice Chips, will be published by Ethel Zine in 2022. She lives in Maine and has yet to see a moose. Find more from Hannah at www.hannahdonovanart.com.