Cathy found the book hidden in her mother’s negligee drawer,
Searching for lipstick and blush to fard her face,
Simultaneously hoping to turn her little brother into a sister
Until the The Great and Powerful O gained the attention of the seven year old
Which was capacious as a teaspoon.
She thought it was a sequel to Dorothy and Toto’s adventure,
Before her mother assured her with the slightest chagrin,
The book was for women, not little girls
The magic it talked of, not bestowed by wizards,
But by discovery of one’s body,
Before ushering her into the bath to remove
The makeup hiding her halcyon charm.
She wondered what the women in her Parish would say
If they knew she told her daughter about making love, marriage, courting
That there was no such thing as ‘Woman’s curse’;
She would not burn at the stake for PMSing.
That she bought Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret?
Before it was banned,
Giving it to her on her tenth birthday
Along with the instruction to only read it at home,
Preventing fussbudget Sister Anne from knowing,
Strategy Cathy hoped her own daughter would not have to devise
Until 5 weeks before graduation Lola told her,
The final task set by her English Lit teacher
Challenging the all-girls class to write a feminist and psychoanalytical analysis
Of a BDSM novel
Making Cathy realize,
That preserving innocence is no longer as easy as
Chucking a book in the fire during a family camping trip,
Because it appears ‘on-the-line’,
Concealment as easy as Control-Shift-N
The hiring of someone older, with less freckles and bigger breasts
To hide the literary contraband in a brown paper bag
No longer required.
If she could confiscate her mobile to prevent sexting, she would.
If she could find her a single boy who didn’t watch porn, she would.
If she knew how to sew a skirt to prevent the hem
Being lifted above her knee, she would,
But all she can do is hope they’ll climb into the bath together
And talk about it all,
Until the water so scalding, she used to sit on her mother’s knees
Grace Dwyer was born in Brisbane in 1995. She is currently completing her first year in a Bachelor of Psychology (Hons) degree at Griffith University, Gold Coast. After taking Creative Writing 1 as an elective, she is seriously considering changing her degree. On days when she is not attempting to psychonanalyse students, her parents, or her dog, she can be found flipping through the dictionary for a ‘Word of the day’, which is at the moment nepenthe ‘a drug inducing pleasurable forgetfulness’... Poetry is her nepenthe.