Derold Ernest Sligh - "Heaven's Door" and "Air Drills"
The poem "FBI" began with breast cancer about ten years ago. Mastectomy was one of the main treatments for my cancer, and I was given the option of having breast reconstructive surgery or wearing a prosthesis to even out the way my chest looked in public. I do not like surgery and opted for the least invasive option—the prosthesis or “breast form.” When confronted with a friend of a friend who wore a T-shirt that said “FBI—Female Body Inspectors,” it made me consider what it meant for women to be so objectified, so dehumanized, that men felt their bodies were all that mattered. I connected my experience to the dehumanization experienced by the civil rights activist W.E.B. DuBois, who wrote so eloquently about how he was forced to "look at himself through the eyes of others," and how that produced a kind of “double consciousness.” I think that DuBois would agree that at the bottom—the bones—we are all human and need to treated as such by those with power and privilege.
Laura Wendorff is professor of English, Women’s Studies, and Ethnic Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Her poetry has been published in several journals, including After the Pause, Bluestem, and The Minetta Review, and she has poetry forthcoming in Spillway and the Wisconsin Poets Calendar.