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2 poems by Roseanna Alice Boswell

Updated: Jun 3, 2021

There is something erotic about dressing the plus-sized mannequin at work

and it’s not her marbled thigh or the way she is collapsible

in my arms. We are the same height. Our gazes touch each other.

My arms around her waist I realize I’ve never held a woman

as wide as I am. Never felt a familiar slope under me.

I undress her slowly. Pull jeans over her. Feel shy. There is

no comic shimmying, no heaving buttons. Only fumbling fingers

under hems and latching a tender clasp. Does she know

I’m wondering what she thinks about all day? Watching dozens

of women size her up, compare her girth, and pray to god

they’ve lost the holiday weight. Pray they won’t fill her clothes

quite as full. Her expression gives nothing up. Her face a soft

undoing of their hopes––she’s never looked better.

I Can’t Stop Telling My Lover About the Time My Father Fell Down the Stairs

My mother and I were in the kitchen when we heard the impacts:

one step at a time––times twelves or thirteen. Each sound

a chance for fracture or bone-split. We found him sprawled

on the dining room floor just fine, just embarrassed

by our rush. My mother sobbed when we saw him, don’t you ever

do that to me again. You hear me? and kissed his head over and over

where the hair was growing thin. Held his face close to hers, almost

roughly, and I felt as though I had seen them naked or newborn

but I couldn’t stop watching, even when my father said Ok. I’m ok.

It’s ok. and I knew I could have left. I tell my lover about this

long before he is my husband. We are lying in bed after making love

for what must be the hundredth time in our one-bedroom

apartment in Ohio. It is dark and I’ve told him this story before.

I shiver into the August swelter. Imagine falling, I keep saying

to the ceiling, imagine falling and breaking someone else.


Roseanna Alice Boswell is a queer poet from Upstate New York. Her work has appeared or will soon appear in: Driftwood Press, Jarfly Magazine,Capulet Magazine, and elsewhere. Her first collection, Hiding in a Thimble, was published with Haverthorn Press in 2021. Find her on Twitter @swellbunny posting about feminism and her love of exclamation marks.


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