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A poem

By Leyla Momeny
April 2, 1999
The Iranian

In high school
I nailed a picture of Gloria Steinem
above my bed post

She looked funny
flying above
jars of lip gloss,
banana boat potpourri and
a dilapidated copy
of Catcher in the Rye

At first I ignored her
ran in and out ferociously
post-pubescent stardom

One day, after tennis practice
I flung my bra across the room
watched it land
above Gloria's forehead
my cotton tugging her
dusty nail

I looked at her and smiled

After that,
we spoke in tongues
when I was sick,
I offered to take her temperature
If she looked thirsty,
I brought tomato juice
sang to her when my stereo broke
showed her my bruises and
geometry scores
raised my fist
and burned my bra

In college, I decided that
she wasn't radical enough
replaced her Willowy Mane
with Angela Davis' Afro
bell hooks books and
a mugshot of Che

Last night
I tore them all down
stood naked
four walls
one window
and a brassy doorknob

In awe of myself.

Leyla Momeny is a 21-year-old student activist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, majoring in philosophy and political science.

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