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.