“Fun with Xerox” by Amber Shockley

Amber Shockley


It all started when Johnny lifted 
her, laughing, onto the glass, 
and as the green beam
scanned her ass he kissed her,
still laughing, their mouths
smashed and shoulders shaking.
He thumbed the print-out from
the tray and adjusted the contrast
on the machine, making gleeful
beeps with his forefinger then
telling her, Hop up there again.
She What if my ass gets cancer?
even as she turned backward,
raised her skirt, which bunched
and tightened over her thighs.
He What if your pussy gets herpes
from you-know-who? and they both
knew-who, and she’d flushed at that,
because she was dating Todd
who she didn’t like because Johnny 
was dating Angela from another 
department at the time
and she’d flushed again, 
her ass warm, her cunt hovering 
over the inner workings of the copier, 
thinking of Angela who wears silk 
blouses and would never 
do this with Johnny or anyone else,
who would never have herpes.
She knows how mean grown 
men can be when they turn, in a flash, 
back to boyish. Still, now,
even the whir of the microwave oven
turns her on, the dull thud rumble
of the dryer, the soft click of the toaster—
any otherwise cold, inanimate thing
made intimate by electric current.

from Rattle #51, Spring 2016
Tribute to Feminist Poets

[download audio]


Amber Shockley: “I remember the first time someone called me a ‘feminazi.’ I was in high school. He was my art teacher. I was stunned because the implication was so far from everything I believed, and still believe, which is that women should be allowed the social freedom to do any damn thing they want to do—from baking cookies to building engines. I don’t care if a woman wants to wear an apron or a pantsuit or a baby (I recently found out, with enough fabric, this is possible). I just don’t care. My hope is that my poetry doesn’t put any constraints on women, but that it shows them in their diversity.”

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