“Pervert” by Julie R. Enszer

Julie R. Enszer


The week before my mother died
I went to a feminist theory seminar
and even though I can describe myself as nothing
other than happily married, I wanted
another woman. An old-school butch—
the kind of woman who exudes lesbian
through every pore of her being, the kind of woman
who sits comfortably with her legs apart,
who stands forcefully, both feet
firmly on the ground, the kind of woman
known as ballsy and, on occasion, a ball-buster,
the kind of woman whose eyes sear
femme’s bodies, make our nipples
go hard, our clits erect, our pussies
wet, the kind of woman I desire.
And it was not just that I admired her power,
not just that I appreciated her sexual being
walking through the world, glancing at me,
giving me the benefit of lust. No, I had to
indulge in the full-frontal fantasy.
During two days of seminars, I imagined her hand
carefully inserted in my vagina, her long fingers
first stroking my muscular walls, gathering
the rhythm of sex, opening my vagina
to accommodate four fingers, a thumb,
then squeezing; I imagined how
my body would yield for her, how my lips
would quiver when my body erupted
into orgasm. I imagined looking into her eyes
as the ripples of my orgasm slid her tighter
and more deeply into my cunt. I imagined making
her the new core of my body, my second, slutty heart
in the way that only sex and lust bring
two women together. I imagined sucking her nipples,
laughing with her in the afterglow.
I imagined how much she would want me after I took her
whole hand inside me, and, though I do not
believe this, when my father called to tell me
about the bleed in my mother’s brain
and how I needed to come home to help him
with the work death entails, to mourn with him,
to bury my mother, though I do not
believe this at all, I could not help but think:
I caused my mother’s death with my lust.
Her death was G-d’s punishment for my desire
of someone outside marriage, G-d’s punishment
for my continual, unrelenting lust
for women, which my mother had condemned.
I could not help but see her in death
somehow justified in her anger, in her continued disappointment
with my perversity. I could not help
but think: I am the pervert
who caused my mother’s death.
I could not help but hear her final,
fatal words, crushing the lust,
the joy from the fantasy: all along she knew
I would kill her, and after her death,
she would hiss, I told you, I told you so.

from Rattle #51, Spring 2016
Tribute to Feminist Poets

[download audio]


Julie R. Enszer: “I am the rage of all women condensed to the point of explosion. I am the rage of all queers, homos, dykes, and fags condensed to the point of explosion. I have the words of that rage caught inside me. Waiting to burst forth from my fingers, from my pen, from my computer. Can you hear it? Can you hear them? Can you hear me? My poetic: going to the root, researching the meaning, ensuring that the word evokes and invokes exactly what I am seeking, exactly what I believe, exactly what I want to say. I am responsible for writing only one life. I am responsible for telling only one truth. My own, but within writing my life and telling my truth burns the entire past, present and future of a thousand communities whose stories made mine, whose values shaped me, whose triumphs, fears, opportunities and challenges are my own. I only have to tell one truth. My own, but that truth is shaped, refracted, reinterpreted, realigned, and reunderstood everyday by the truths of others as I learn them and hear them. I want to capture them all, singular and multiplicitous. One truth with many truths.” (website)

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