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Charlotte Suttee Poet

a girl shaves her legs for the first time

by Charlotte Suttee

the razor chokes
on spider-leg hair,
roils cold water,
and coughs again,
to erase bit by bit
her body thicket.

her thighs crack
like moth wings
cornered and dry
for the dustpan

Hat Trick

The climbing gym’s closed so we watch
the Chicago Bears draft a defensive back
from Washington. We pick a scab on our chin
clean off. We don’t get sad this time when
the frat boys talk about the girl’s deadlifting
ass and can still enjoy the same sunshine.
What else do we do? We don’t reply to Nana’s
text: “I want you to be in heaven with me.
Please respond.” She would love to see us
come home with one of these hairless men
strutting to the door in greasy gym shorts
who headline their Instagram profiles with
1# God 2# Family 3# Football. She would
clap her hands together and weep, the perv.
We stretch out one leg. We forget to stretch
the other. We watch the Dolphins pick next.
We wonder what to do with Freedom and freedom,
if we can get away without seeing another snow
and ski on banana leaves until the knees give
in then mercury tremors finish us. Papa made lots
of money calculating bullet trajectories and
cut off his gay son. We don’t know the gay son’s
name but we know he rides motorcycles. We love
our grandparents, their bone spurs, cancers, and other
Freedoms. Nana taught us how to glue anything
to anything else and this is our most precious
talent. Papa taught us how to wrestle for our life.
We pull love out for them like hares from a magic
hat. Jeff Goldblum tries to get us to bet on our
favorite sports team in an app. The gym closes
early on Friday because there are better things to
do, like following the trail of frat boys to
their drinking games posted in dirt backyards,
then waking up in time for church on Sunday.

We will always betray ourselves

moving as fast as we do
through embracing arms
we go so fast with a force so loud
we must wonder
if we heard a             snap
we must wonder
if we could have finally been held

Madrigal (as a type of bird)

    i am a teenager and wish
i could be smart enough to draw
     as poorly as them
the ones with a place
     threaded through their fingerbones
i made my hills rounder
     than they come
because childhood is learning
     how not to see.
i only know how to draw the
with hands pieced together from graves
     it’s so dead this me now
the bird on its head a
     deliberate accident
but creating is throwing
     a piece of broccoli
over family thanksgiving
     into the fat laughing mouths
of people who set house alarms
     like violence.
creation opposes birds on their feet
     but the wings disturb  God
the tears from nana’s eyes


Charlotte Suttee’s poetry is published in a handful of Colorado magazines and her experimental speculative fiction novel “Weather and Beasts and Growing Things” is available through Lethe Press. She howls, cooks, and explores with her husband in Minas Gerais, Brazil.