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IV. 16. song in the morning, song arises from the earth -- not from birds or auto engines; but in the very timid blue of the sky sits a siren, seducing the sun to life with her euphonic songs. misted leaves stir, factories spout their churning smoke, alarm clocks blare, ships depart from harbors, the radio news chants ... but mostly, men rise in their apartments, houses, farms, condominiums, and elsewhere, everywhere, rising to the call of the sky siren. she stirs them to trundle into their cars, drive across the rutted roads to factories, farms, highrises, mines ... clinking, thunking, bumping, creaking, squeaking, scraping, thumping, clacking ... by midmorning, they have their cups of coffee, except the nouveau-age, who drink glasses of grapefruit juice, or the outdoorsmen who stand in the shade of a barn roof, gazing to their pastures, or the most hard-working who simply continue. By the siren's rest at day's end, quieting her allure for the night, these men travel back, returning home to make new noises with the TV, blender, dishwasher, faucet, stove, shower, guitar ... praying that by reproducing their daytime noises, they can call the siren to sing them awake. And inevitably, she rises. underneath the activity, in the dark humus, rich with fertility, lie the bones and flesh of solitary women: mothers, sisters, lovers, daughters; buried by living, the constant crush of scraping, mopping, twisting, knotting, shoving, bowing, washing, scrubbing, bending ... they wake to the earth's pressures, squeezing children out of their wombs, while digging continually to fend off soil suffocation. by midheat, they pause to breathe the loess. at the night's chill, they condense into dark pebbles, pockets of decay in a world of subterranean desires. through generations of pressure, these women have become stone deaf. they cannot be raised by the siren's song, not by the seductress of life; the motion she stirs has swirled these women down. but i would raise you -- by singing of death, by singing of longing and loss, of persephone and hades, of winters, of harvests ruined by pestilence, of miscarried children, lashed belts, fall-spring marriages, of postpartum depression, of bread dough made at sunrise, of hand-wrung laundry, secondhand sickness, forced sex, of large lineages, of corsets, cover models, of frying pan burns, glass ceilings, high heels, of hosiery, of anorexia & bulimia, hairspray, salt & ammonia, of fertilization, of RU-486, wage gaps, of clinics, of sweatshop sewing ... i would sing the blood from my lungs and the water from my ears, hoping that you might hear, but if you cannot, i would raise you by dredging the thick earth with my hands, until i touch your fingers ... and perhaps perhaps by grasping mine, you would let me pull you free.

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