The Modern Amazon
My thigh is touching the thigh
of the guy next to me
I’m staring at my Best Subway Read
to let him (and everyone)
know that I don’t notice it.
I am noticing it. I can’t tell
if he’s pressing into me on purpose.
I can pretend that I’m not
thinking about holding my ground,
fighting on behalf of all womankind
encroached upon by a man’s flaring thighs.
I shrug my purse further onto my shoulder
in the same way one would hoist a spear.
The girl next to me is texting about someone
putting their dick in her face on the subway,
again. My urge to hug her is entirely
inappropriate. I imagine hurling my body
over hers, a human shield like in movies,
the two of us holding fast in a flood of men.
This fight is more important to me
than the idea that some guy
might wonder if I’m pressing my thigh
into his thigh on purpose.
I dream that I tattoo the insides of my ears by hand.
Before they heal I tip my head to the side
and dump hydrogen peroxide on my new blood.
My ears subsequently burst into flames. I don’t
put the fires out because my organs are crystallizing.
My tongue becomes a block of salt. There is no good
way to interpret dreams about ears, according to Google.
I become paralyzed by the taste of salt. I eat bland food
hoping my diet will beget bland dreams. I stop being able
to turn my head as the moisture is sucked from me.
When I dreamt, I would wiggle my toes to wake myself up;
the person who taught me this also fractured my jaw.
There is no good way to interpret that, either.
Ziggy Stardust is Dead
Okay suppose we are together
and I’m drinking nervously.
If it’s dire you’ll know because
I’ll have a plastic bottle of Jack Honey
in my Longchamps bag.
It’s waterproof canvas
after all – and to the woman
in Nordstrom who told me that
the more expensive one is the one
everyone gets when I asked medium
or large do you think medium is fine
because I don’t carry that much stuff? –
I am sorry about whatever happened
to make you need to hustle your own
kind and I am sorry that I was so sad
that I came in here to buy a new purse.
You and I can stop to pour one out into the slush.
“Come and meet us.”
Stand on Houston and look up
at him, winter sky, come down
and blow your mind.
Catherine Chambers is an Asian-American mermaid living in Texas with her dog, Bob Dylan. She is currently completing her MFA at the University of Southern Maine and edits Poets Resist for Glass: A Journal of Poetry.