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Lesbian Poetry

A Woman Is Talking To Death

A Woman Is Talking To DeathJudy GrahnThe Women’s Press Collective1974

A 1974 long poem by Judy Grahn, the internationally-known lesbian poet, author, and cultural theorist who established the Oakland-based Women’s Press Collective in 1969. 

The first woman ever I kissed was Josie, who I had loved at such a distance for months. Josie was not only beautiful, she was tough and handsome too. Josie had black hair and white teeth and strong brown muscles. Then she dropped out of school unexplained. When she came back she came back for one day only, to finish the term, and there was a child in her. She was all shame, pain, and defiance. Her eyes were dark as the water under a bridge and no one would talk to her, they laughed and threw things at her. In the afternoon I walked across the front of the class and looked deep into Josie’s eyes and I picked up her chin with my hand, because I loved her, because nothing like her trouble would ever happen to me, because I hated it that she was pregnant and unhappy, and an outcast. We were thirteen.

Excerpt of A Woman Is Talking to Death by Judy Grahn