The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Michelle Chan Brown’s “Double Agent”












Someone told me the password—EAT ME—
so I’m moving into the rooms one by one,
licking the dust off the tiny chandelier, tapping
discreetly on the ass of the skull-faced butler. See,
I’ve idealized this for so long, those curtains
of linen and lace, the exquisite eye-drop
wine cellar. I’d gladly lose a lash for that
diminutive footstool in port leather. Maybe
it’s bigness that I’m after, a sense of perspective,
but I’m also learning how to talk with ceramic
madwomen in the attic. I hear they’re looking
for a roommate. The façade is immaculate,
and the static on the dwarf television might be
the informal version of the prophecy. I’m rising
before dawn, chilly in my gross four-poster, so as
to sneak up on it, loom clumsy and enormous,
lunar. It’s the first time my shadow has experienced
greatness since expulsion from my mother,
whom I suspect may be sifting through the garbage,
clipping the yellow roses. Maybe it’s smallness
I want: my distinguishing features reduced
to the pricks of a pin. I’ll wear my Jane Doll
nametag above the nipple, reduce my worldly
goods to a bundle at the end of a toothpick,
twist my petite tongue if they’ll just let me in.

This selection comes from Michelle Chan Brown’s book Double Agent, available from Kore Press. Purchase your copy here!

Michelle Chan Brown was born in London and grew up in Prague, Krakow, Moscow, Belgrade and Kiev. Her first book, Double Agent, was winner of the 2012 Kore First Book Award, judged by Bhanu Kapil. Her second book, Motherland, with Wolves, is forthcoming in 2015. Her work has appeared in Blackbird, Cimarron Review, The Missouri Review, Witness and many other journals and anthologies. A Kundiman fellow and two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Michelle is poetry editor of Drunken Boat. She lives in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where she is a Fulbright scholar, at work on non-fiction and a third poetry collection.

T.A. Noonan is the author of several books and chapbooks, most recently The Midway Iterations (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2015), Fall (Lucky Bastard Press, 2015), and The Ep[is]odes: a reformulation of Horace (Noctuary Press, 2016). Her work has appeared in Reunion: The Dallas Review, Menacing Hedge, LIT, West Wind Review, Ninth Letter, Phoebe, and others. A weightlifter, artist, teacher, priestess, and all-around woman of action, she is the Vice President and Associate Editor of Sundress Publications.


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