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Category archive for: Gabrielle Calvocoressi

Major General,

The Dowager makes tomato sandwiches

when I go to her house. We sit in the dining room

and Beverly brings them out, wearing her clean

dress that’s as white as the bread.

She cuts the crusts off. Beverly does. I say,

Thank you for making these to the Dowager

who makes the strangest face and just says,

Eat. We only eat them in summer

even here in California where tomatoes

grow all year. We eat them on china plates

at the long dining table with one of us at either end.

One time I tried to sit beside the Dowager. She stared

at me ‘til I got up and walked the long walk

to the other end. We do things properly here,

she said. And took a bite. I like it just the same,

the quiet as we eat. And how the tomato has that tang

when it mixes with the mayonnaise. Some days

Beverly brings me two and winks when the Dowager says,

You spoil her and mutters something about fat.

I’m not sure why she has me come except to ask about my father

or maybe Babe. Once I asked her about my Brother,

if she thought he was brave. She got up then

and said, I think it’s a long way to go to get away.

from Rocket FantasticFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2017
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Shave

Like the buck I am I turn my head

side to side. I hear the leaves

rustle. I shake my head a little

and birds reel ’round the forest.

I am no branch. My head turns

to the side. I see out my side eye.

The deep pool of the eye

sees itself pool in the mirror.

I oil myself ’til I am all a lather.

My chest heaves out

so my full heart can abandon

the ribs’ stockade. Where

the bullet would go if the hunter

were a good shot: that’s

where I place the razor.

I make my skin taut. I pull

my own neck back and to

the side. I come for myself.

Yes, I was a lady once but now

I take the blade and move it

slowly past the jugular, up

the ridge of my chin where

the short hairs glisten. I was

once ashamed. It was a thing

I did in private. My own self

my quarry. No more.

Look how the doe comes ’round

and also the doves and also

the wolf who lets me pass.

The fox offers me the squirrel’s

hide to buff myself to shining.

There is no such thing except

the smoothness of my face.

outside the window. And plenty

of people are dying in various ways.

And won’t the infrastructure fail

all on its own? Without me building

a bomb in the desert? These are the

kinds of questions that make me know

I’m not fit to decimate the planet.

Which is sort of sad to think

about. All that potential I’m just

giving up on.

from Rocket FantasticFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2017
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.