A Journal of Poetry and Kindred Prose

Kim Bridgford

is the director of the West Chester University Poetry Center and the West Chester University Poetry Conference, the largest all-poetry writing conference in the United States.

As editor of Mezzo Cammin, she founded The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline Project, which will eventually be the largest database of women poets in the world.

She is the author of seven books of poetry: Undone (David Robert Books); Instead of Maps (David Robert Books); In the Extreme: Sonnets about World Records (Story Line Press), winner of the Donald Justice Prize; Take-Out: Sonnets about Fortune Cookies (David Robert Books); Hitchcock’s Coffin: Sonnets about Classic Films (David Robert Books); Bully Pulpit (White Violet Press); and Epiphanies (David Robert Books, forthcoming). She was a recent Ucross fellow.

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Men like a little brokenness in women.
That’s why they put them on a pedestal:
To knock them down, and make them feel more human.

A stumble? Not a problem. “Might have been”
Is better than to have nothing at all.
Men like a little brokenness in women.

Do not invite them to be keynote then;
Some adjunct work will fill the time meanwhile.
The hard-knock life will make them seem more human.

Give them all the advising roles. It’s men
Who need the extra time to make a book deal.
Men like a little brokenness in women.

If women win awards, men are forgotten.
There are ways to keep the women from the table.
When they knock on your door, just be inhuman.

It’s better, then, to shut achievement down.
Discrimination usually is subtle.
Men like a little brokenness in women.
Knock. Them. Down. But you are only human.