HANDFUL ❋ T. Liem
I carry around a handful of tacks
in my left breast pocket.
I buy men’s shirts so that I have that option
and perform grammatical ellipses
like because sartorial sexism
to say women’s clothing
doesn’t have enough pockets
even if things are changing.
If I told people how I carry
a pocketful of tacks so near my heart
they might wonder, why carry tacks
when you’ve nothing to post?
You haven’t mentioned paper or bulletin boards.
And I say because internet
because never mind.
The other day I read a paper about
deep seated prejudice in academia
and I did not post it.
I sent a private message to Liz instead
saying, I hate men
and I hate that I hate them but I do
but don’t tell anyone. And
You need to read this essay
and she wrote back, do you mean the gender or the patriarchy?
Either way, it’s ok, I just want to be clear.
It was hot that day.
I was sitting in front of a fan at my kitchen table feeling hateful,
everything melting except hate.
When the sun was setting
Francesca asked if I wanted to go for a walk
to water some house plants at her friend’s apartment.
On the way home
we got caught in a downpour and the dark.
I say we got caught but the truth is
we ran into it
because the options were to wait with the plants or run
and we couldn’t wait and didn’t want to
and thought it would be nice.
The gap between expectation
and what the rain felt like on my face
The rain was sharp and I was cold
and I screamed because I could
because if there is any place a woman is allowed to shriek
it’s while running home in a downpour,
when everything else is louder,
when she is blind,
and her clothes are soaked stuck against her skin.
When we got home we brought in puddles
we wrung our hair and hung our clothes
and I thought I might evaporate.