Labour Pains by Rayanne Haines

Poem title: Labour Pains Poet name: Rayanne Haines Poem: woman i did not birth be a nasty woman. loud voiced. gut laughing deep in the belly. let secrets spill like splashes of indigo pouring down chins. spread your legs wide. take up two seats. you whiskey drinking, private club hijacking, shorn head, hairy armpits. you fucking goddess. tell someone. trauma will bury itself inside your skin like prison bars. because you are brilliant. because the name you wore to sunday school is not your name. woman i did not birth, be colossal. take up space. take up knitting or boxing. take up with the circus and a woman with tattoos of women in bikinis on her arms. backpack through nepal or brooklyn. paint scenes of kink, or puppies, on the backs of your lovers. eat well, and often. gorge yourself on grapefruit and avocado, on dark chocolate and medium-rare steak. spray whipped cream down your pink panties. marry the farmer because he knows how to handle a bull. or the girl in bali because her kiss felt like scripture. you are scripture. you radical introvert. you fire-breathing dragon. listen to janelle monáe or florence and the machine while dancing naked for your lovers. all of them. say your name. say your name. say your name. all of them. woman i did not birth, do not walk lightly. be heavy footed. heavy handed. be dirty. let them try and tell you to clean your mouth. to clean your house. strength will be required of you. let them try and tell you how to grieve. how to love. how to hold onto living. what being a woman is. End of Poem. Credits: Copyright © Rayanne Haines Forthcoming a new manuscript out next year with Frontenac House, titled tell the birds your body is not a gun. Rayanne Haines’s writing has appeared in or is forthcoming from, Fiddlehead, Impact: The Lives of Women After Concussion Anthology, Voicing Suicide Anthology, The Selkie Resiliency Anthology, Freefall, Wax Poetry and Arts, Funicular, and Indefinite Space. She is the co-host of the poetry podcast, Let’s Get Lit and is the Alberta NWT rep for the League of Canadian Poets. Rayanne is a 2019 Edmonton Artist Trust Fund Award recipient. Her poetry and prose have been nominated for the Canadian Authors Association Exporting Alberta Award and the John Whyte Memorial Essay Alberta Literary Award. Her current work focuses on mental health and intergenerational female trauma. tell the birds your body is not a gun is forthcoming in 2021 with Frontenac House.