The old Ashkenazim at my office
say “nuu” when they want something
like fucking Israeli teenagers
restless, urgent – unrelenting.
For the Goys,
of which I am half
this means come on, or answer me
like a prayer disguised as postscript
it begs confirmation.
In the throes of illness, I bargained
with what was left of my body
and when G-d did not listen, I begged
through every swollen shame,
…………………………………..for any answer at all –
crooning “nuu, nuu” out loud
to the soul-sellers of Brooklyn
hands pressed to the gate
like a prayer, like a wail.
Mari Pack is a poet, short story writer, and recovering academic from the outskirts of Washington, D.C. She earned her M.A. in English Literature from the University of Toronto in 2013, and promptly abandoned the ivory tower to work for a social justice nonprofit in Israel. She loves deserts, tundras, and all other forms of wasteland. Her work has been published in Quail Bell Magazine, Greenpointers, Thought Catalogue, and Art Refurbish, among others. She currently works as copywriter in Brooklyn, and desperately wants a whippet.
A statement about the project from Christine Stoddard
Like many women, I grew up believing that the female body is fragile. Since then, I’ve come to realize its power and strength. Sure, the average woman may not be as strong as the average man, but our capacity to endure pain is phenomenal. We are the sex capable of growing another life inside of us. We are the sex capable of bringing that life into this world. We are the sex more likely to be harassed and abused and violated—yet we survive. Women are so much stronger than I ever could’ve imagined as a little girl. And while it can be hard to be a woman, I am proud to be a woman. That’s why I often photograph strong women I admire.