I was a white cedar swamp you traversedThough these elegies begin What Are Big Girls Made Of?, the rest of the book is a lively entanglement with sex, middle-aged love, and politics. Piercy's wit can sever pretension, as in "The Promotion," in which she tells how a friend's new job turned him into a murderer, or in "The Gray Flannel Sexual Harassment Suit," in which an Audenish third-person omniscient voice delineates the sort of woman "we" allow to file such suits: upwardly mobile white virgins. Piercy diagnoses social problems, but she also advances, in "The Art of Blessing the Day," a sense of politics derived from experience, an awareness "[t]hat things / work in increments and epicycles and sometimes / leaps that half the time fall back down." Ultimately, What Are Big Girls Made Of? concerns itself with the precarious balances of middle age: what to forgive, what to condemn, and how to talk about it. --Edward Skoog
on a wooden walkway above the black water.
You were a closet from which odd toys
and bizarre tools fell out on my head.