portion of the artwork for Rachel Wiley's poetry

A Correspondence on My Loveliest Stationery
to Nicholas Who Is So Concerned

Rachel Wiley

The band was full swing the night we met
My beautiful all cotton pressed and petticoat full
You lead me away from the dance floor
concern bruising the top of my arm
to remind me,
in an embarrassed whisper,
that I am much too fat
and making a fool of myself
with all of this skin I wear
all of this immodest self love
all of this space I am taking
and still taking.
My God, people are watching.
Don’t I know I am dying
Don’t I know I am a sugar blooded elephant
O Nicholas
Forgive my clumsy audacity in forgetting to hate my tusks
I was so dangerously carefree
Who knows what could have happened
I might have in-sighted a herd of gray fleshed wallflowers
to shake the chandeliers down to the floor
with the sound of skin smack
and hip sway
and unapologetic buoyance
Thank goodness you were there
to lead me home
your insecurities
binding my wayward trunk
I am obviously a large and simple girl,
and left home without my own
stumbled into feeling all too human
with the air kissing my unsightly skin
I have forgotten my place
like I never felt laughter slinky walk my spine
or deep kissed pavement at an insult backfired from a passing car
or felt every single knuckle in a punch line
You would think I’d have learned by now
that this body
and its fault lines
do not belong to me
My fat
a crime scene of other people’s concern
I seem to swallow everything
so why not your good intentions too?
A little known fact about elephants and rooms:
everyone sees the elephant standing there
they all think they are the first to point her out
the first to tell her she is an elephant
the elephant is very aware she is an elephant
by nature does not forget this
the room would never allow her to forget this
so she may as well dance
Take your bull hook hands off me
I am no one’s broken beast
and I’ve got whole houses to shake down
to clapboard and brick dust.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 38 | Fall 2012