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May 28, 2015 | Poetry

New York Journal and Advertiser, 1898

Chelsea Werner-Jatzke

New York Journal and Advertiser, 1898 photo

 

The Dinosaur of Wyoming

I was never born a hermaphrodite. But I tell this story where I am born a hermaphrodite. And anyone listening after I get to the part when the gynecologist asks if I have hair on my chest, lets the stitching out of their eyelashes seam. And I hope it's a lesson of how humor works. The silent laughter that comes from discomfort or the relief of the way things go, when they go on too long. Ask me anything. I am forever telling the same confused history. 

 

The Most Colossal Animal Ever Just Found Out West

Mostly you are right about things. Especially animals, and I am an animal, so maybe you are right about me. A drunk girl once claimed me as her spirit animal but I insisted, I was a seal. She thought me a tiger. This drunk girl was drunk and hungry. She certainly wasn't something she's not. She was thirsty, she was sated. The headline has been set confirming your discovery of this animal: I fell in love just this morning.

 

When It Walked The Earth Trembled Under Its Weight of 12,000 Pounds

My friend wants to draw the stinging silhouette of modern romance. She needs a model. I go on a long walk through public parks casting for some natural specimen. I don't know from plants. I'd like to be the kind who keeps the succulent alive. But I know an easy act of kindness when it stings me in the face. The nettles surrounding the empty wasp nest are thick and the supporting branch is young. This is how we learned to make paper. The nest on her desk, she sketches my chin, my sideburns, outlining the bullet points of my welts as to tell her how I didn't ask for help or have to use a saw. All I had to do was approach the nest, slightly inflamed.

 

When It Ate It Filled A Stomach Large Enough to Hold 3 Elephants

Sometimes the grocery store is the biggest bummer. Everyone with their lists and still forgetting the milk. The constant reminder of how base need can be. I'm a cake eater and you're a cake eater and everyone is eating cake. When I go for seconds someone suggests I'm pregnant, and there's my me-shaped face, letting them know, I'm considering it. And there's my me-shaped stomach, thinking maybe I'll see you in the grocery store and be embarrassed for both of us, so hungry.

 

When It Was Hungry Its Terrible Roar Could Be Heard 10 Miles

We are charming the pants off each other so I am running, bare legged, inventing scenarios of the end of us and all the ways you will feel stupid for wasting your gravitas on insulting my salsa. And inventing a scenario wherein your insult is unfounded because I've learned to salsa with the best of them. But they like my salsa too much. They are following in their cars, coming slow down empty alleys where I run, to tell me I'm pretty. I'm flipping the bird. They're blowing kisses. I'm picking up their cars, splashing them into the lake union, the sound of violence with no pants on.

 

 

 

image: Tara Wray


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