“Known” by Jenny Hanning

Jenny Hanning


We can talk about my failure until the cows come home
Meaning, Baby,
It’s a fact
—Like how the health teacher told us about body types
Some girls, she said, will just be heavy
They could diet till the cows come home and still be heifers—
And how she laughed at her own joke
And how the fat girls started to sweat with shame
And I was skinny in that made of sticks way
That comes with being young
And I was skinny, but there were other girls
Who wore their bones like corsets
And fat girls with pretty fat girl faces who would do anything
To feel pretty and not fat
So I laughed—I laughed along
—I let you down,
Did I?
Of course I did—
This is something that you could have read in the leaves
Tea leaves gathered at the bottom of the cup
Leaves gathered in the gutter
Or written in the saliva words
I tongued across your stomach, your thighs, your trusting back
You were shown a thing or two a long while ago
—Remember that day our health teacher
Said those ugly words
And I laughed—
I laughed like the girl I was
And that should have told you something
That right there, should have told you a lot

from Rattle #28, Winter 2007

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