What Doris Kilman Couldn’t Say to Elizabeth Dalloway

She wants you to think I’m the horrible
pollution in this city: fumes of my spinster’s
muffler. Though, she’s right in this: I do want
to fill up your lungs and the space in between
your legs. Never mind her bristling brand of spit-
shine when my hands shudder to be stars under
your telescopic gaze. Please have a seat again.
Who cares about wearing white gloves to bury
the milk of youth and eagerness and untapped
desire? Toss the Dalloway off and into the street
like the world has done to me. Let’s live on periphery,
make our degenerate music. And know that if
you walk away right now these hands are more like
to be dying stars, heat folding in on heat until shadow.


Natalie Giarratano’s first collection of poems, Leaving Clean, won the 2013 Liam Rector First Book Prize in Poetry (Briery Creek Press, 2013). Recent poems appear or are forthcoming in Isthmus Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Laurel Review, Best New Poets, and TYPO, among others. She co-edits Pilot Light, an online journal of 21st century poetics and criticism, teaches writing at American University, and lives in Northern Virginia with her partner and their pup.