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.