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  • I met a woman who wasn't there
  • Marge Piercy (bio)

The CIA should hire as spies only women over fifty, because we are the truly invisible. We pass through checkpoints as if through spider webs with only a slime of derision. Watch television, go to the movies (if you can afford the ticket prices; maybe not since older women are the unimportant poor) and you see only children, young females. Older men thrive, with escorts half their age, but older women must die off en masse. In middle age even with botox, liposuction, face lifts, tummy tucks, whatever mad torture to the poor hardworking flesh surgeons can devise, we begin to vanish. Walk through a lobby, a crowded airport: men, children will run into you in the obvious opinion you cannot possibly exist. We are inaudible too. We speak and people turn away. Although we know more, our opinions are dust on the wind. Nobody collects or records them. [End Page 1] We are the age's lepers. They would like us penned out of sight in colonies of hunger. You have let yourself go. You have not refused the years politely, firmly like an anorexic at a dinner party. A sitcom joke, jealous witch, bag, you are in- tangible, for who trained on media will stroke your soft quivering belly, your tingling breasts. Survivor, crone, wise woman history's warnings are etched on your bones. Like Cassandra you have witnessed wars and famines and you foresee that wind of ash blowing in, but to your prophecies only your cats will listen.

Marge Piercy

Marge Piercy is the author of more than 30 books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction including The Moon Is Always Female (1980), Woman on the Edge of Time (1976), and Sleeping with Cats (2002). Her most recent publications are the novel, Sex Wars (2005), and So You Want to Write: How to Master the Craft of Fiction and Personal Narrative, 2nd Edition (2005), an instructional book on fiction and personal narrative writing co-authored with Ira Wood.

Please send correspondence to Box 1473, Wellfleet, MA 02667.


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