“Costume” by Jessica Moll

Jessica Moll


Our game’s a cross between A Chorus Line
and Fame. Rehearsals, here in our backyard.
Pretend the lawn’s the stage. The tutu’s mine,
but I let David pick a leotard.
I’m ten, he’s five, he’s used to all my rules.
He gets to be a girl, but has to choose
a neutral name like “Chris.” Summer fog rolls
in. We swirl our glitter scarves to music
in our heads. He’s got it down, the girl
pose: hips, hands. He’s not a boy. He won’t play
out front, racing Big Wheels. Instead, he twirls
barefoot with me. But what about the place
my fingers found, underneath my clothes?
The grass is cold. Plié. And point your toes.

from Rattle #32, Winter 2009
Tribute to the Sonnet


Jessica Moll: “Since I just wrote a sonnet yesterday, today I’d like to rest. My fingers ache from tapping syllables against the desk. I haven’t slept—the loud iambic tick’s a clock inside my head. I hate the task I give myself, of cramming my mind’s sprawl into the structure of a formal poem. I think the next time that a sonnet calls, I won’t answer. I’ll pretend I’m not home. But watch, tomorrow I’ll be riding down a pitted Oakland street, pedaling hard to get to work on time, and as I spin, I’ll feel the meter in my pulse and start to think in rhyme. You’ve had this kind of lover—as soon as you break up, you’re back together.”

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