Abby Spasser Thank You

My mother tells me to learn how to take a compliment,

but she covers her face in photographs,

so I don’t listen

when you tell me you love me.


It’s Saturday morning at Macy’s and I’m looking at the mannequins. They have nipples,

but no face. I feel the same way in the dressing room, wondering what I can get away

with. I came inside wanting to buy a new sundress for Spring. But I buy a raincoat.

___

I go to the gym at lunchtime, cancelling our date, because I’d rather be cornered by

sweaty mounds of strange men


who could break me

as soon as want me

than have you tell me

that you don’t care.


You like my insides.


On the treadmill, I pretend I’m running away. Four men stand behind me watching, and

one of them asks for my number. I don’t say anything. Instead I walk to my car, and I

wonder if from behind, I look good escaping.

___

And then it’s one a.m., and I’m at Kroger,

and it’s easier

to buy a Dr. Pepper two-liter

than it is to answer your call.

The bag boy hands me my purchase, brushes my wrist, tells me my skin is soft.

Thank you. There’s weight in his words and his face makes me tense. His eyes say,

You’re not above me. They tell me, You’re worse.

___

I can’t smile in photographs, either.


For now, I’ll find comfort in running errands, comfort in the security guard’s grin as I

buy the least practical bra in the store.


There’s comfort

in knowing

I’m no better than I’ve been.


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