How I Became a Single Woman

by Magdalena Alagna

When I scraped off my parents who had
Hardened around me like a scab,
I became a single woman.

I became a single woman by
Eating dinner in the graveyard,
A tree doubling as my spine.

Through plumage: dying my hair purple
And doing my nails blue.

By eating my heart raw on nights when
That mean, orange-haired lover played guitar.

I became single by attending
My friendsí weddings in a
Tuxedo and a black sequined bustier.

By not shaving my legs for six years and
By wearing fishnet stockings with garters.

I became single by stomping on
Myself with the unerring grace of
A flamenco dancer,

By flexing my scar tissue at parties
As though I were double jointed.

By having days when my skin is
Rice paper and I fold myself up
Like an origami bird.

I spread eagle alone in bed and
Make angels in the white flannel sheets.
I am not separate from anything.

And I stay single;
I sprint to my car in storms
Cuss my wet socks and sing
Ella Fitzgerald, loud,
The window cracked, rain in my ear.

©2001 by Magdalena Alagna

Magdalena Alagna is an editor and a freelance writer who lives and works in New York City.

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