Dead Down There

An elegy

by Meredith Purvis

THE other day I was poking
around down there
and discovered a disturbing

I think my vagina
is dead.

They say that the more
sex a woman has,
the more she wants
so that means when she's not
having any, her vagina dies
a bit at a time.

At my shocking realization
I moved through the obligatory
stages of grief. First step:
denial. No, she's just asleep
if I get out a sex toy, some lube
I can wake her up. I coaxed
and coaxed, treated her to bubble
baths and champagne, seductive
music, even chocolate, but my plan
failed. She remained dead weight
between my legs.

Second step: Anger
and resentment. Why
me? I howled. Found
a scapegoat. It's all his
fault. He moved away
and left me carrying a torch
in his honor. He never considered
her basic needs. When I see him
again, I'll lay her corpse in his hands
let him know the death for which he alone
is responsible.

Third step: Bargaining.
Oh God, I'll buy silky panties,
I'll max out a Victoria's Secret credit
card, wrap her in luxurious fabrics, lace
feathers, if only you'll bring her back!
I dreamt of deals I could make, what I could trade
for the return of her life. I'll pay more attention
to her, take her out to dinner, go to strip
clubs, rent porn. I'll even go lesbian
if that's what it takes
to get her some action. No matter
what I offered, I got no response.

Fourth step: Depression.
Well, with no results from my anger and plea
bargaining, I finally decided to accept
the reality of my late vagina. I sank
down, didn't wash my hair, cried a thousand
tears, sat beside the casket. I mourned the loss
of something I never knew how much I needed.
Like the victim of amputation, I felt my phantom
vagina, she was still there, with needs, but no chance
of relief.

Fifth step: Acceptance.
I took a shower. Retreated.
My friends had a hard
time understanding, but I'm finally moving
on. I built a shrine for her, hung up an
O'Keefe, offered up The Vagina Monologues,
chocolate, bits of silk. I wove calla lilies
in my hair, stripped off my clothes, overlaid
the void with sequined cloth,
and danced a dance of celebration.

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