after Woman in Black Stockings, Pierre Bonnard, oil on canvas, 1900

Today I fought the urge / to buy a fish vertebrate / necklace / from a woman selling them from a blanket on the sidewalk / some regalia for this bare chest / I dress / strapless brassiere half unlatched / I imaged it jawed / or marbled / tonight / I could wear beads / perhaps jasper / brass / what / the emptying of my dress onto the floor like a drink hole / hollow black water / if it bothers you I could skim it / off the floorboards / with a net / like catching razor salmon / river pink / these black stockings / they were a gift / matching garter and clip / a man who ate his breakfast at dawn / who gulped at his own reflection in boutique windows / bought me dresses too / these booties / I spent the summer mending them / kept them in a cheesecloth hatbox / until fall / polished with spit from the Seine / I sat where the high winged boats passed / counted as they crossed under bridges / filled with people / things / I know / the constant cloy of decoration / in the groundwater of every party / leaning / drunk / against the liminal rim of the juncture between the self / and the beautiful self / but today / I am half naked and posing / for a portrait / as if pulling a thorn from my foot / hair unpinned / drawers spilling their ugly teeth / and when / at the market / a woman holds her hands out to me / a necklace with a clamshell / a silver pocketbook and a yarn bound copy of the bible / I’m hooked / I take the necklace / leave the book / I’ve never been much / for reading / in the dark / honey / stranger / imagine me like this

Jane Huffman is an MFA candidate at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. She is an editorial assistant for Sundress Publications.

:: more from this issue ::

Penthouse Girl

Marley Andino

For Today

Melissa Matthewson

Today I Fought the Urge

Jane Huffman

The Literary Life of My Vagina



Robert Long Foreman


Bob McNeil


Elizabeth Tannen


J. Michael Wahlgren