by Alicia Grega

What do women who don’t take their coats off
do in the summer when it’s warm?
Does Freon flow through their veins?
Do they sweat through ice-lined pores?
I don’t trust these passionless creatures
with no fat to burn,
more comfortable when cocooned,
who never make themselves at home.
They probably wear shoes in the house
and are allergic to things no one’s ever been allergic to before.
Like baby food. And water.
I want to love them in confident solidarity with all women.
I have tolerated so much weakness,
why should this particular fragility tickle my contempt?
Ordained to grow strong or perish,
it’s natural I should envy the frail privilege
of hothouse shelter.
Why should they escape the full force of life’s blows?
They idle demurely,
letting others attend to their needs,
speaking only when spoken to,
answering in pale mumbles,
wishing they were someplace else.
Who are you not to bear the burden of being here with us?
They try not to look impatient
when they’re ready to go.
But their furtive eyes refuse to rest.
They are always ready to go.

Alicia Grega is a writer/editor and adjunct instructor at Lackawanna College in Scranton Pa. Plays produced include Operation Wanderlust, Insomniac Salad, Banger’s Elixir, and White Matter Surplus. A poetry chapbook featuring original photography titled Haptikos was released in 2015. Alicia holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Arts from Drew University and an MFA in Writing for Screen and Stage from Point Park University. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America.