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poetry Negatives

As part of the so-called second wave of feminism, Jeannette Ferrary’s “Negatives” captures a woman’s sense of awakening during the 1970s, much as women today raise their voices with renewed anger about male chauvinism.

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By Jeannette Ferrary

I want to be too gentle for a thing.
I'd like to be thought a fragile-lace woman,
white Wedgewood traced with blue translucent veins.
Someone should say of me
            Oh let's not burden her with this;
            she's a poet, you know.
On my brow--
            a wisp of soft hair,
            perhaps even
            a whole lock of it.
People might leave me in the parlor
            on my swing with tea cakes
            while they go hammering about in far away rooms.
There would be sights too raw for me to witness,
words too harsh for my rose-petal ears.
No one would offer me a joint,
            much less ask me to roll one.
And never mind showing me how to change the oil
            with these sugar-sweet fingers meant for pianos.
Now I remember.
I used to be this, like a full color photograph
of silence.
Then somebody moved. I guess it was me.

Writer/photographer Jeannette Ferrary lives in northern California. Her work centers on food writing, memoir and street photography.

« Negatives » first appeared in Samisdat Magazine (Spring 1975)