I was in my room masturbating with a frozen hot dog, which is just
one of the many examples of things that make my room truly my
own. The clock turned 11:11. I made a wish. I can’t tell you what I
wished for and I won’t. I wish I had an apartment with art all over
the walls and that the art was all linked together by one cohesive
theme. And maybe that theme could be the forest, or the trees.
Spooky light browns and bright, deep greens. I wish I had a second
room, a sort of parlor room. And I could go there to get grounded,
to not lose sight of where I came from and who I am.
To think about how devastating body image is. How I miss
Katie. How fantastic I might look in a tight white sweater, if you’d
let me. Oh if you would let me. Like you were ever even around
when everyone was saying to “Imagine Sisyphus happy,” let alone
present. I was in my room writing my name in cursive. I worked so
hard for so many years, crafting and re-crafting my signature, all its
intricate pleats and loops.
They say, “If the descent is thus sometimes performed in sorrow, it
can also take place in joy.” I talked to Stephen last week and it was
like being in hell. Like the weird poison stuff that mom used to put
on our cuts when we were little, the stuff that looked like blood. I
know that he stopped talking to Katie when she got on a plane and
moved to California. We all did, even me. And I know the only
reason why he keeps her in his Top Friends on Myspace is because
I told him you need to maintain a certain respect for parts of
your past that are sacred.
A man on the street asked me, “Can’t you smile better than that? Is
that smile the best you can do?” A dude walking behind me called
me “beautiful.” “Doll.” He said, “Keep up the good work.” Maybe
when he said that, he was talking about my writing, or about how I
stopped shaving my armpits, like a French babe, how I miss Katie.
How I felt like an enormous dying steam engine, gripping your
little finger with my balled-up fist. You said, “If Marisa is cute
in the forest, and there’s no one there to see her, is she still cute?” It’s
a really important question. How I want to say all the same things
I always want to say, so predictable, the rock rolling back down the
When I moved into my apartment the walls were deep cheerleader
maroon, and I painted them a soft, fuzzy peach. So now I can
rub my back up against the fuzz of the wall whenever I’m feeling
scared of getting robbed or getting stabbed, or missing Katie. And
then I start crying, or maybe sometimes I have an orgasm.
The frozen hot dog defrosted and broke off inside me. I was
chastised, then renowned, then eventually accepted by my peers.
On the airplane to California I sat by the window and looked down.
The city was covered with lights and clouds. My town looked like
little dollhouses. Earnest and willing. White and green and brown.
Marisa Crawford is the author of the poetry collections Reversible (2017) and The Haunted House (2010) from Switchback Books, and the chapbooks 8th Grade Hippie Chic (Immaculate Disciples, 2013) and Big Brown Bag (Gazing Grain, 2015). Her poems, essays, and interviews have appeared in BUST, Broadly, Hyperallergic, Bitch, Fanzine, and other publications, and are forthcoming in Electric Gurlesque (Saturnalia, 2016). Marisa is the founder and editor-in-chief of the feminist literary/pop culture website WEIRD SISTER. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Jessica Rae Bergamino is the author of two previous chapbooks: The Mermaid Singing and Blue in All Things: a Ghost Story (dancing girl press 2015). Individual poems have most recently appeared or are forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, Slice, So to Speak, West Branch, and elsewhere. She splits her time between Seattle and Salt Lake City, where she is a PhD student in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Utah.
The Desiring Object OR Voyager Two Explains to the Gathering Stars How She Came to Glow Among Them is available free download from the Sundress Publications website!
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