February 16, 2011

J.R. Bouchard

Ways of knowing

My breasts are beginning to push to the side,
caught under my arm pit, and it’s not spoken

about between other women, mostly grand-
mother and me. Our tits shutter at geography, hide

when asked to impress, asked to join
in on important conversation. Her friends,

almost dead now, say there’s no escaping
genetics. I am growing into our likeness,

like our tulip bulb eyes. When we are together,
I see.


For weeks, I dressed in my bedroom
without considering the windows—
our yard has grown into drapes.
I would slink around as only modest women do,
cupping my breasts like neat nests, protecting
whatever is inside.

Tonight, I notice the man
watching television from his
porch, facing my direction, catching
glimpses of two frames
until I step away.

Does he know what he sees?
Does he know I hate the body I’ve
grown, the claw marks that question
gravity when I am no longer held up—
irreversible shapes to my flesh
that grow larger with each joy,
and each pain.

I am a silhouette between commercials,
any man can see that.


J.R. Bouchard lives in Philadelphia, where she is working on her MFA. Her writing has appeared in Word Riot, Foundling Review, and Mad Poets Review. She will soon complete a collection of metaphysical poetry.

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