12.2 / FALL/WINTER 2017


    You are told not to touch paintings
    for the same reason you are told not to touch
    yourself or other people                        But with the night-
    light casting stars on your lilac walls
    you press against your childhood
    doll until your insides unclench in waves
    and waves in the punctured darkness
    At a museum on a fifth grade field trip you find yourself
    in front of Rubens’ The Three Graces
                 the women are forever
    framed in daylight	 gripping each other’s
    softness	   flesh draped
    at their hips like fabric that isn’t there
                 and all you can imagine is licking
    the canvas bare
                 swallowing their pinking fat
                         They will taste delicious	     you think
                 like peaches
    and whole milk 	
    The fluorescing glare of the Macy’s dressing room
                cluttered with a-cups and g-strings
    casts your new breasts in relief
                and then you see the slow curve
    of your waist		then the marble
    in your thigh    and you wonder
    if another	         would like what they saw
    as you think     tentatively	    you do
    Kneeling in the basement of a college party
                 music lapping
    the walls           you open your mouth and try
    to pull from the boy
    what The Three Graces gave you
    so easily           a way to appreciate your whole
    self      to see it as beautiful
                but he just places his heavy hand
    on the crown of your head
                and you feel
    the flecks of paint
    still adhered to your tongue
                which you spit out       with the rest
    onto the concrete floor
                the mess of it all
    glistening against the dark

Alana Folsom recently graduated with an MFA in poetry from Oregon State University, where she founded and was Editor-in-Chief of their literary magazine, 45th Parallel. Her poetry has been published in The Journal, Hobart, Apogee, and others. She currently lives in Boston, MA. Find her on twitter @axfolsom.

12.2 / FALL/WINTER 2017