The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: That Ex by Rachelle Toarmino


after Anne Carson

Nude #1. That one alone
in her living room. Finding another
way to settle an argument. Oil

diffuser on-again, off-again.
Nude #2. That one in the passenger seat,
looking like the last thing you need.

She better be finished. In the end,
the driver says, it won’t be cinematic.
His won’t be the last face you see.

Nude #3. That one with the touch
completely like music. They can’t get inside
that feeling enough. She moves

in her own light.
Kisses into them the question
Is this how you lose her?

Nude #4. Look who’s trying
to prove a point!
a man yells at that one
specifically. She knew where to look.

Sings his name now like a ritual.
Nude #5. That one is a feral
little ruin. Heels off

and running. Quick as thought.
Nude #6. All those ones in the group chat
catching their breath.

I never liked him, one says.
That ancient proverb.
Nude #7. That one thought she was out.

Take everything, she says,
expanding as she speaks. Hit or be hit.
The locks inside her change.

Nude #9. That one winks into the void.
Sings Tell me I’m a problem.
Was born into this world skeptical

and hurt, and look where that got her.
Nude #10. That one got it all wrong.
Got bangs. Got steps in.

Nude #11. That one knows
too much. Watches porn she’s already seen.
She’ll be sorry. Leaves

without closing the door.
Nude #12. For that one, forgiveness is an option
the way luck is an option.

Every regret inside her like another life.
Pain opens like a mouth. All mercy
and teeth.

Nude #13. That one’s new way of killing
needed a new way of speaking.
Like filling silence.

It would be too easy.

This selection comes from the book, That Ex, available from Big Lucks.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Sarah Clark.

Rachelle Toarmino is a writer and editor from Niagara Falls, New York. She is the author of the poetry collection That Ex (Big Lucks Books, 2020) and the chapbooks Feel Royal (b l u s h, 2019) and Personal & Generic (PressBoardPress, 2016). Her writing has appeared in Cosmonauts AvenueMcSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Metatron Press, Shabby Doll House, and other places online and in print, and has been anthologized in The Cosmonauts Avenue Anthology and My Next Heart: New Buffalo Poetry. She lives in Buffalo, where she works as the editor in chief of Peach Mag, the communications and development manager of Arts Services Inc., and a teaching artist at Just Buffalo Literary Center.

Sarah Clark is Editor-in-Chief and Poetry Editor at Anomaly, Co-Editor of The Queer Movement Anthology (Seagull Books, 2021), a reader at The Atlas Review and Doubleback Books, and an Editorial Board member at Sundress Press. She’s edited folios for publications, including Anomaly‘s GLITTERBRAIN folio and a folio on Indigenous & Decolonial Futures & Futurisms, Drunken Boat’s folios on Sound Art, “Desire & Interaction,” and a collection of global indigenous art and literature, First Peoples, Plural. Sarah freelances, and has worked with a number of literary and arts publications and organizations.

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