To One about to Give Birth

Long ago, the bigger girls used to whisper

And laugh, excluding you,

Their bags crammed with lipsticks, mysteries.

Their full sweaters facing the other way.

It hurt you not to hear what they were saying.

Soon you will learn a secret

Larger than any bag can hold, an old

Riotous tale of seduction, you yourself

Are going to whisper and laugh.

Author Photo of Alicia Ostriker

About the Author

Alicia Ostriker’s fifteenth collection of poetry is The Book of Life: Selected Jewish Poems 1979-2011. Her most recent prose collection is For the Love of God: The Bible as an Open Book. She teaches in the Drew University Low-Residency MFA Program in Poetry and Poetry Translation. A new collection, The Old Woman, the Tulip and the Dog, is forthcoming in 2014.