The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Ways of Looking at a Woman by Caroline Hagood

This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Erika Eckart, is from Ways of Looking at a Woman by Caroline Hagood, released by Hanging Loose Press in 2019.

The desire to have my first baby hit me on a night like any other, with Vietnamese sandwiches and bubble tea. Something changed when I put on my seahorse necklace, and my mother forwarded me the video of the male seahorse giving birth—synchronicity. I started getting hungry for a child. My life is defined by consumption: books, movies, food, ideas, people. After watching Wall-E, I tried to figure out what kind of robot I’d be. I decided a hungry one probably. I even dream of eating cupcakes, letting my teeth loose in the refrigerator like mechanical tooth toys.

I wake up sore from phantom mastication. Sometimes you need a therapist, but sometimes you just need a really good bacon, egg, and cheese. I would understand Derrida a lot better if he used food metaphors. I would rob a bank if it stored baked goods. I remain baffled by my inability to have cookies or cakes in the house without being found at two in the morning, chocolate-covered, sugar-foaming at the mouth, surrounded by empty boxes, denying everything.

I’ve started seeing life as an invisible game of chess played with a blind aunt. Kids teach you how little control you really have over your surroundings. It’s both liberating and terrifying. These are the kind of thoughts that make me want to eat. I should have been a drumstick on a giant’s table or maybe even the ones in the movie Tom Jones; nobody enjoyed a feast more than they did.


Caroline Hagood is an Assistant Professor of Literature, Writing and Publishing and Director of Undergraduate Writing at St. Francis College in Brooklyn. She has published two books of poetry, Lunatic Speaks (FutureCycle, 2012) and Making Maxine’s Baby (Hanging Loose Press, 2015) and one book-length essay, Ways of Looking at a Woman (Hanging Loose Press, 2019). Her novel, Ghosts of America, is forthcoming from Hanging Loose in August 2021. Her writing has appeared in The Kenyon Review, the Huffington Post, the Guardian, Salon, and the Economist. She blogs for the Kenyon Review.

Erika Eckart is the author of the tyranny of heirlooms, a chapbook of interconnected prose poems (Sundress Publications, 2018). Her writing has appeared in Double Room, Agni, Quarter After Eight, Quick Fiction, Nano Fiction, Quiditty, and elsewhere. She is a High School English Teacher in Oak Park, IL where she lives with her husband and two children.


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