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Alice Chalmers

An untitled poem by Melbourne based writer Alice Chalmers (she/her)


the small visceral discomforting
disquiet of demonised flesh
it is real to me

to moisten or thicken the
instruments of worldly
relationship or in
childbirth (depart)

and chromosomes are not
part of it more like
a feeling

or a softness which deepens

your body
is a woman’s body if
you’re a woman

(a woman is a woman is
a woman is)

defined as such by

said to be
masculine -
but I am the emptiest

so soft I
stretch inter-dimensionally
in the morning

said to be unfuckable
by men who have never
climbed into
a darkness akin to death

or found the form of
a chrysalis
a comfort
in unspeakable times
of vulnerability made
painful closing

instrumental weakness -
a weakening
of the whole
of the feminine

form of torturous
socialised self-hatred
form of the familiar.

I forget the
way my own body tastes
and I get
so choked in

make me all angular
and I forget
the softness,
my unrolling endlessness,
undressed I am better
being myself

(insert the unfamiliar)

inseminate a feeling
of intrinsic

a worth which depends on
something else-
I don’t want any part in it I’ll
hide in my own
bed if I don’t have to
hide in a long gown
or a
medical textbook
or some gynaecologist’s opinion
of me

I won’t forget the
offhand fingers who’ve
tried to define me,
without the proper attention

I am paid to
the goddess for
two hands.

for forgiving my hardness.
it is easy to be hard
when you’ve been
made to wear
the gown
which itches your skin
and resists you.


Alice Chalmers is a Melbourne-based writer/artist/somewhat shaky horticulturalist. Trying hard to practice authenticity in creative expression and in general.