Orange On the Nail
Whatever is said to mate for life, doesn’t. Science once was awful
at telling birds apart, took any speckled hen in the nest
for the same one every time. Now we know more.
See the shop
where the model girls are ugly. This only happens at one store,
and every time I’m there they offer me work. I say I work already,
and they say where, as though I’ll soon be stolen. The fitting attendant
is angry in sandals, kicking her toes.
LOOK AT THIS COLOR, IT’S WRONG.
IT’S PEACH IN THE BOTTLE, she says. PEACH IN THE BOTTLE, ORANGE ON THE NAIL.
Is this where we’ve gotten to? Have I hurt you? Have I made
accusations from the other side of a stall,
put you in mind of stone
fruit grown in glass? Of seed fruit and a spike? And what about the cigarette
on the subway stairs, still going? Everyone avoids it, wishing not
to stamp it, cheering the burn as I have cheered a family animal no one
could put down. Such is our religion. We raise kids in it and cry when they sleep
with heretics. Striding neighbors
beg us stay together. I can’t
remember school. Once I returned to the college I’d left
and found that I knew no one.
I slept on the floor of a lab for making ears.
The guard woke me: HOW DID YOU GET IN? I told him I WAS A RUNNER,
THEY NEEDED A RUNNER. I TRAINED ALL SUMMER. MY EVENT WAS HURDLES.
Natalie Shapero is the author of No Object (Saturnalia, 2013), and her poems have appeared recently in The Awl, Copper Nickel, Pinwheel, TYPO, and elsewhere. She lives in Gambier, OH, where she is a Kenyon Review Fellow.
This week’s Wardrobe Best Dressed was selected Lyric Dunagan. Dunagan is the Development Assistant at the Sundress Academy for the Arts and a graduate of the University of Tennessee. She was awarded the Bain Swiggett Poetry Prize in 2013, and has been published in The Volta’s Evening Will Come. She is currently waiting to hear back from various MFA programs and hopes to begin graduate school in Fall 2014.