Ghazal For the Men Commenting “Gorgeous” On My Photos

          Some words are not good words, like moist or panties. I forgot gorgeous
          clicks my burner right up to high, a kettle calling the pot gorgeous.

          If I showed you a picture of my first-loved house, wallpaper licked clean
          off after fire, after fire, after after, would you call the shot gorgeous?

          I know! I knowww. I’m tedious but I’m also Butterface. Butterface.
          Butterface. Butterface. Butterface. But your tits are hot, Gorgeous.

          There are men I want to want me, abstract flames. There are men
          who smell like men I knew before I was angry, before I got gorgeous.

          I wanna be wanted from afar, specifically. Stand at canyon’s lip
          and fill me with your pitiful echoes. This is how you court gorges.

          You can call me anything; brave or good, kind or Catherine. Call me
          awful taunting names. Fat bitch. Fat ugly bitch. I’m not gorgeous.


i can guess what instrument you played in middle school band

          but what i mean is did anybody ever call you a dyke during inside recess
          when the rain fell too thick to spill us outside like a split bag of sugar
          so instead we played hangman on the whiteboard & made cruel games
          of MASH & called me a dyke in our most indoor of voices & how was it that
          october wrapped oak roots around our ankles & we looked ahead to all
          that might come of a sleepover that didn’t & of the book fair that did
          & once someone wore a toga to the dance & how everyone laughed
          because courage looks funny before you’ve ever really had to be brave
          & i feel like i knew you then even though i didn’t & i bet you wanted to
          play the saxophone but got told the clarinet was easier & now you don’t play
          anything except spotify & saxophone regret sits briefly on your tongue
          like a dry reed but then melts as sweetly as lines chalked before a storm


Catherine Weiss is a poet, artist, and organizer based in Western Massachusetts. Their work has been published in Tinderbox, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Counterclock, Noble/Gas Quarterly, and elsewhere.   WEB