Rate of Exchange
At the lingerie store if you’re lucky they’ll pop out
champagne to celebrate nothing at all: cream colored silk,
lavender lace underwire fitting in just the right places,
lifting, and look at the line of you now in the mirror,
I’ll toast to that! As for washing them, the best way is out flat
on the dining room table. Take yourself an evening.
Dali wanted to make a woman with the head of a fish,
so much more lewd than a mermaid and her aquatic substitutions.
What hard-hat would you wear to design your own line
of maiden form? Consider the marriage of fashion and engineering:
your ruler sliding over breasts of different sizes,
revolutionizing support the way some men build bridges.
Consider the titillating substitutions of lace for flesh,
Oh engineer of the brassiere, what can I give you besides my secrets?
Yosefa Raz has lived in Jerusalem, Oakland, and Toronto, and is now based in Tel Aviv. In Toronto, she helped found the Contemporary Poetry Research Group, a research & reading collective. Her work has appeared in Jacket2, World Literature Today, ZYZZYVA, Lilith, Tikkun, and Entropy. She is the author of the poetry book In Exchange for a Homeland (Swan Scythe Press 2004), the chapbook All these years practicing while momentous changes were happening all around (Gavia Immer Press 2015) and co-translator of Women’s Hebrew Poetry on American Shores (Wayne State University Press 2015). She holds a PhD from UC Berkeley, and teaches Comparative Literature at Hebrew University.