So #MeToo cuts her ponytail off, walks into a bar and takes a seat next to #MeToo and the bartender serves #MeToo whiskey from an eyedropper she pulls straight out of her purse, but it turns out #MeToo was already in every purse because #MeToo comes as a picture inside every wallet. #MeToo carries tweezers everywhere she goes, plucks chin hairs before her picture is taken. #MeToo slides into a bra strap, tucks into a sock, falls out of a pocket, folds into a shirt sleeve, gets lost in a discount rack. #MeToo Shuts up. Drinks. #MeToo never loses the memory.
#MeToo, like when my high school soccer coach hijacked my shin pads and cleats he drained the water cooler sucked the orange slice out of my mouth the warehouse out of my mind the metal cage out of my lungs the ferris wheel seat that flips inside my gut yes he resigned I was a goalie I wanted to tell his wife wanted to cut his tongue out rip his face off my torso hardened into tree bark when my shirt came off her torso hardened into tree bark when her shirt came off she wanted his wife to yell but it was sunday then tuesday and 16 is hard pavement her head is my head against the curb my hair wrapped around her throat I was 16 I swear I never kissed back
So #MeToo wants to tell his wife, wants his daughter’s name not to be Nicole. #MeToo was kicked off the soccer team. He ran for mayor as a democrat, just like #MeToo. So you lost the sour taste of being a teenager, #MeToo? Me too. Now she stands in front of a classroom twenty years later with hair down to her knees and when a student says #MeToo, she imagines her soccer cleats dangling from his rearview mirror as he gags on a wad of her hair.
An Ode to Hair in the Mustard
What if in your dream
you went hunting without a gun
or maybe you are a bear that lives
behind an elementary school
where teachers teach magic
where teachers teach dreams
where teachers teach you how to pray
to gods named Nin, Shara, Maria, Jan,
What if in your dream there was a classroom
full of men and women who shot bullets
out of their eyes. What if books were murdered
this way. If our eyes evolve into guns that shoot
at every single word. What if.
What if this is a silent poem that lives on King Street
in small town Pennsylvania and you saw its
silhouette in the window. What if your eyes shot
a stream of bullets and this poem’s wife
was sitting on the sofa, too. You’ve just killed
me, my wife, and a stray bullet killed the farmer
who farms corn down the road. What if
your eyes won’t stop shooting
when you are at the drive-thru
on your way home from work. Your eyes
open fire at the menu and maim all the pink meat.
Pink meat splatters on roads, smears
across windshields. Tractor trailers
drive through pink slime, birds make
nests with it. The sky turns pink. What if.
Air Force One crashes into a cloud of pink meat
on its way to Russia and the president’s hair
floats across the ocean and washes ashore
on Brighton Beach. What if. After you rode
the Wonder Wheel you stood in line
for a hotdog and there was a strand
of orange hair in the mustard.
Nicole Santalucia is the author of Because I Did Not Die (Bordighera Press). She is a recipient of the Ruby Irene Poetry Chapbook Prize and the Edna St. Vincent Millay Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in publications such as The Cincinnati Review, Radar, The Boiler Journal, Hawaii Pacific Review, TINGE Magazine, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Gertrude, Zocalo Public Square, Oklahoma Review, Bayou Magazine as well as numerous other journals. She teaches poetry at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania and brings poetry workshops into the Cumberland County Prison, Shippensburg Public Library, Boys & Girls Club, and local nursing homes.