Cabana

A new poem

by Hannah Gamble
A cabana is both an “indigenous hut”
and a “recreational structure” 
and, in the context of its latter definition,
much like a vagina.

Instead of “pussy,” 
now please say “cabana.”

You can’t keep the weather
out of either. You can’t 
keep people out of either,
and you can’t keep people in.

Mothers want babies out,
once carrying them has become
uncomfortable, but they also
(the mothers) are crying

because they don’t want to lose
what seems to belong 
inside them;

imagine if your heart 
just left your body. 
You might feel embarrassed
that your heart had pushed a hole 

through your shirt and now everyone 
can see your tits a little, but also,
how’s that heart going to make it

out there in the horrible world
without you? So many animals 
would love to eat it 
and so many careless motorists—

texting, reaching for something
deep in the console. 
Maybe you feel zero attachment 

to the heart (after all, the two of you
have never had a conversation),
but you still feel guilt when a thing
previously in your charge

leaves you and barrels
toward harm. 

A vagina is safe,
which is why the most troubled people
must get inside 
at any cost.

Outright crimes aside, 
almost every woman
has felt rushed. 

A man clamoring toward 
what he perceives as safety, 
like a child who becomes
violent when he just
needs sleep or juice.

The men who come so fast 
once they enter a vagina—
it’s not overstimulation,
it’s relief: Thank god 
I can give up 
and let a little of my life leak.

But then what’s the woman saying
when she comes? 

He tried to kill me
but then I came back! 
(As I will every time 
someone tries to kill me,

which, I imagine,
will be on the regular.)

Hannah Gamble is working on her second book of poems. She lives in Chicago, where she is helping to develop an arts-based learning workshop at the Museum of Science and Industry for a team of innovators seeking to address the city’s problem of urban nutrition.

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