The Queen of My Self

By Karen Ethelsdattar

I want you to look at yourself in the mirror & say
“& God created Woman & she is good”

I want you to look at yourself in the mirror
& say “God is a Woman”

I want you to look at yourself in the mirror
& say “I am God’s Daughter”

I want you to look at yourself
with a lover’s eye
& write a poem about yourself that way

I want you to taste yourself & feel yourself & smell yourself
& study how to please yourself
the way you study
the way you were trained to study
to please men

I want you to study women walkin’ down the street
the way you study men
How their hips swing & their breasts sway
& their hair goes free in the wind
& I want you to exult & sing,
“I am one of them”

I want you to bathe yourself like a baby
with scented oil till you gleam

I want you to watch the muscles of women ripple
& say to yourself
how beautiful it is when women are strong

I want you to go to your hairdresser
& say, “I want it natural.
I like the way I am.”

I want you to go through a hundred women’s magazines
& tear out every page on cosmetics & beauty care
& how to reduce yourself to a shadow
& make a fire & let them burn

I want you to boycott perfumed toilet paper
& use an outhouse for a week
in the heat of the summer
& sit there with the door hangin’ open
& look out at the trees

I want you to study proud women
& character lines
in the faces of old women
& think on every woman in your life
who did you good

I want you to find a portrait
of a great woman
& paste it over your television screen

I want you to ask for help from other women
& help them in return

& every time you feel turned on
I want you to close your eyes & say
“This is me
This comes from within.”

Published in At Our Core: Women Writing About Power, Papier-Maché Press, c1998


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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to





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