The whole world is flat
& I am round.
Even women avert their eyes,
& men, embarrassed
by the messy way
that life turns into life,
forgetting they themselves
were once this roundness
underneath the heart,
this helpless fish
swimming in eternity.
The sound of O,
not the sound of I
embarrasses the world.
My friends, who voluntarily have made
their bodies flat,
their writings flat as grief,
look at me in disbelief.
What is this large unseemly thing-
a pregnant poet?
an enormous walking O?
Oh take all the letters of the alphabet but that!
We speak the Esperanto of the flat!
Condemned to sign
language & silence, pregnant poems
for men to snicker at,
for women to denounce,
I live alone.
My world is round
& bounded by the mountain of my fear;
while all the great geographers agree
the world is flat
& roundness cannot be.
Erica Jong's Other Poems
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