*After What Women Want by Kim Addonizio
It’s done, and so I want a red dress to walk around on the arm of a woman. I want it cheap so that its peeling hurts. Tight, so I wear it and in a fit tear it, or someone tears it off my chest. I want it careless and backless and like my back, backless so they wonder, what. the. hell. is. going on, underneath. I want to knock around crossroads until my heels break, buy berries, buy everything I never needed. Pass past the cowhide market, they're filthy as fuck, slinging cows onto a dolly, dreaming of toying with me on a sticky truck while on their shoulders hoisting skin and blood. But no, I walk the walk of a cool astronaut, like I want to walk. But it’s never enough, and I want that red dress bad. I want it to tell me, no one is OK with it, their worst fear about me, a sickness in their stomach pit. To show them how little I care about them or anything else except what I’m drinking next. Do or die, I want, and when I find it, I’ll pull that body off its hanger, random against other bodies, sail this planet full of ghosts, and wear it like bones, like cries, like smoke wrapping a leaving light.
A fucking mess.
Mai Serhan is a writer and translator. Her writing has appeared in Anomaly, Oyster River Pages, Swamp, Flash Fiction Magazine, The Writers & Readers, and Oxford Magazine. She is a winner of the Lunch Ticket Twitter Poetry Contest and a recipient of the Emerging Writer Award from Wellstone Center in the Redwoods, California. Mai is currently pursuing her graduate studies in Creative Writing at the University of Oxford.