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OMEGA | Tessa Liem
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Tessa Liem

20 Oct Tessa 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 metaphors
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
was hysterical.

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.





I am happy right now and everything is going great.
My friends all have jobs and dope-ass apartments and blenders.
I have time to own and care for several puppies.
I did not spend thirty hours in bed last weekend.
I do not feel like my life is a crawl space.
I do not eat ketchup chips until my tongue feels weird.
I am not worried about being alone.
I do not think that everyone else is more interesting than me.
I am not the Werther’s original of people.
I am not weathered.
I think I know enough about enough things already.

As far as I know it is autumn.
As far as I know the days are getting shorter
and soon it will be cold enough to see our breath
and soon we will dress up as something other than ourselves
and I can’t wait because everything
is going great and I’m
happy right now.


Maria Tessa Liem recently received the 2015 Constance Rooke Creative Non-Fiction prize from The Malahat Review. Her poetry has been published in Soliloquies and Petal Journal. She lives in Montreal & is doing an MA at Concordia University.

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