“Ode to Bobs, Breasts, and Beauty” by Jaclyn Dwyer

Jaclyn Dwyer


The same day Brad Pitt cuts his hair,
I play Bernice, drag my husband
to the strip mall Supercuts and lop off

thirteen inches of wavy locks
everyone tells me is so pretty.
It turns out more bowl than bob,

and I’m afraid I look just like
my mother when my husband says,
You look like Anna Wintour.

I picture a mom sending me to school
in Chanel instead of Velcro shoes
too clotted with fuzz to stay closed, but can’t

imagine ever calling my Rob, a Bob
my Rob, who called me Kitty Pryde
when we first met. I wore bright boots

over tights, and passed through
crowds on St. Charles, effortless
as the notes from the street band

trombone, though my breasts
were more Tomb Raider than
intangible, so round and full

once a stranger in the locker room
asked, What’s your surgeon’s name?
Skipped right past Are they real?

and Can I touch? to Where
did you get them? Like my boobs
are a pair of shoes. My momma!

I wanted to say. No one
would believe me now, sloping
domes like high-rise muffins,

soften to the shape of anything.
I’m just happy to have a husband
who knows what Vogue looks like.

How I watched Anna fidget alone
in Federer’s box during the epic
Open he finally lost to Nadal,

cinching her cardigan close,
shoulders hunched over knees,
trying to hide. I remember pulling

a curtain of hair over my face
in the bath. Every night
I would disappear in the tub.

Now there is nothing to hide
behind, nothing to be beautiful
for me. The grocery bagger

offers unsolicited advice, that
I don’t need the anti-wrinkle
creams that promise minted skin.

When I ask Rob what I can do
to make myself more attractive,
he says, I have no idea what

you are talking about. He says,
Your neck is a long, white
baseline I stand behind to serve.

from Rattle #45, Fall 2014
Tribute to Poets of Faith


Jaclyn Dwyer: “I am a practicing Catholic. My faith gives me hope that any of this matters: poetry, prayer, even the people in my life. Without it I probably would have given up writing long ago.”

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