Andrena Zawinski


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Some Women, Take Heart


...I feel the
rage of a soldier standing over the body of
someone sent to the front lines
without training
or a weapon.

Sharon Olds, from “Indictment of Senior Officers”

Some women learn to take it with a stiff
upper lip, stitched up tight, standing up,
right on the kisser, in the teeth, jaw wired,
bruised cheek swollen on a clip under
the eye. Some women take it flat on
their backs, slapped in a cast, choked,
roped in a free-kill-zone, run down out
on the road, statistics for the Times.

Some women take it into the heart-
land, run with what they own, new job, new
home, new name in balled fists, chased across
state lines, life on the line--kicked down, kid-
napped, taken back. Some women breathe in
old dreams, slip under night covers, think
they stink on the sheets, knuckle under
enemy outposts in their minds.

Some women try to make it, fix it, get it
right, can’t do anything right--beaten up,
beaten down, beaten to death between thin
walls, windows up.  Some women start up
at the door slam, click of the briefcase clasp,
tinkle of ice in the glass, Bourbon splashed
on the floor. Some women can’t take any
more morning after sweet talk, panes out--
board it up, change the locks, bar the doors.

Some women--the ball busters, castrators,
man haters--stick out their tongues on a dare,
tear in the skin (this is a pore war),  go for
the muscle and scream: no more, bloody
spit ribboning lips, mouthy at the firing line
like they mean it. Some women take
a match to the gas, burn the bed, end up

rattling chains behind bars. Some women
want a revolution like a lover   
and a full metal jacket for a heart.


“Some Women, Take Heart” first published in the book by the author, Traveling in Reflected Light.

Note: Italicized matter is from Robin Morgan’s “Monster.”


Andrena Zawinski is a teacher of writing and Features Editor at She has authored two full collections and four chapbooks of poetry - her Something About from Blue Light Press in San Francisco, is a PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award recipient. She compiled and edited Turning a Train of Thought Upside Down: An Anthology of Women’s Poetry from Scarlet Tanager Books in Oakland, CA where she founded and runs a Women’s Poetry Salon. Her work appears extensively in print and online with work widely anthologized.