Be a doll now, you say, and I am become one
I pluck a flock raw for its plumage
Strip, I say, and birds strip bare
I stuff myself so full with their stuffing
I bulge with all their lorem ipsum
Poke me and I spill sawdust from featherguts
I fear everything that could happen to this form
The worst would be if you didn’t notice my hunger
I could dance the seven veils to thrive you
I could drive stakes into highway medians
To campaign for your attention
I would have the edge of an underdog
Underfed and unassuming
Is it beauty when it baffles you?
With the right filter I am half pretty
But mostly very ugly for my habitat
Rank me on a supersmooth bell curve
Numbers evade me so give me images
Be a doll now and bring me my silver charger
Loaded with one Star Ruby and an antique melon-baller
Self-pity is the soul of my wit, you say
But I’m working to extinguish that urge
I burn lovely hairs at my bedside
I steal fresh palms from my neighbors
And swirl these together in a saucepan
To keep pests from coming in




I don’t believe in a religion
without commerce
heavenly merchandise

but I furnish myself with myths
like the idea of my mobility
making me a good American

or the capacity of ritual
to vanish my body
into a temporary grace

I practice good posture
for lengthening stretches of time
pretending against gravity

let’s pretend you’re falling
for me and let’s pretend
I’m not going to let you

in truth when I’m with you I feel
like I’ve never let anyone down
like a new president

like a royal subject
in the purple room of our enjoyment
I use my hands another way

with you watching over
performing for the archives
personal highlight reel

This morning I invented
a future which any day now
I will enter

and I surprised myself
declaring that I’ve been happy
for my longest stretch

this new mood a steady lamplight
I can hold inside my fist
I carry my sigil

into the crystal palace
where I can focus
on internal order and how

when I am close to you
I am closer to everything
a real citizen of the universe

next to the small animals
with their large fears
inside a canyon inside a cocoon

which everything with a molecule
has at one time touched
there must be ten thousand touches

inside your touch
like that
right there




It slays me the way
You get your fix
And shove off
After I’ve performed me
I’d like a shower
But all my invisible contaminants
My wide-shining fears
Are stored in my fat cells
I’ve got so many of these
I could never
Achieve thigh gap
Or any kind of shortage
You’d like to fix
But I am getting warmer
So bloody in my abdomen
Braying in the bathtub as
I drip hot wax on my skin
To grow younger by
I make a pact with myself
To become so garish
And well-adorned
As to be confused for beauty
As to be mounted
As to be put out to pasture
Some sunlit place
Where I can glut myself
On green things
Go so straight I’ll
Only want to fuck myself

SARAH JEAN GRIMM edits the journal, Powder Keg, and works at Penguin Random House. Her poems have recently appeared in The Atlas Review, H_NGM_N, Jellyfish Magazine, The Lifted Brow, Seizure, and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn.