Carol Guess and Aimee Parkison

The girl in your bed1 isn’t in your bed. She stands on one leg2 while she steps into her skirt.3 Slides her skirt up her thighs,4 around her waist. Glances at you as you glance at her.5

The girl in your bed stands facing the window,6 blinds pulled tight, like your lips when I look.7 You’re still in bed, uncovered by covers.8 The girl in your bed was supposed to be me.9

Like a girl in a movie poster,10 she faints in the arms of her naked lover,11 realizing they’ll never become fine art.

They will be thrown away, recycled with newspapers, considered cheap12 and low grade.

She tells herself there’s nothing degrading about it, being in a movie poster,13 paying her dues in Hollywood.

In Hollywood, she will go out of style quickly,14 though her nude lover seems to never age.

Another up-and-comer, a young actress, is clamoring to play a younger version of her.15

Her lover’s eyes drifting toward the younger actress, his arms slowly releasing her.16

As she senses him letting go, she’s trapped inside a vanishing image of herself,17 diminished, like a male author responding to a young woman questioning his brilliance.18

I rest my head on her legs.19

We’re all wearing short black dresses with sheer stockings and black high heels.20

Blue eyes to brown eyes, she’s shivering and pushing me to the girl on the bed, the girl on the balcony.21

I smile at the metrosexual22 clinging to the emasculating harpy.

We are their guests, prisoners23 who must abide by the harpy’s dress code.

Night in Harpy Hotel24 is so long that there is a moment when I think she could never really love me,25 but she turns around in her backless dress and I see the ink on her back.

I’m tattooed on her body,26 just another girl in a black dress.


1. Engage the senses: spice rack, bubble bath, Prosecco dried in corn-silk hair.
2. Pink flamingo posing near lily pad.
3. Do I look too much?
4. Skin sticky from Prosecco baptism in true Italian white made with Glera grapes: spumante, frizzante, or tranquillo, depending on the perlage.
5. After the ordeal of removing her G-string with your teeth, putting on her face in the dark.
6. Staring, she doesn’t say anything, but body language.
7. Maybe at your hands, at nothing. Maybe thinking of where your hands have been?
8. Naked girls are jogging in the dark, laughing around sorority houses, long ponytails bouncing while boys in man buns do the elephant walk near fraternity houses’ lighted windows.
9. Things are a little crazy, but that’s what girls do.
10. The Girl in Apartment 3B
11. Sweat Stained Summer Shame
12. Spray Tan Secrets: The Sequel
13. Pie Crust of the Heart
14. Typewriters and Toolboxes
15. Don’t Tell Mama
16. A Daughter’s Revenge
17. Chocolate and Chokeholds
18. Love Among the Stacks: The Prequel
19. And smile at the camera hidden in the smoke detector.
20. We’re all starved thin as sticks, fake boobs just another sign of starvation.
21. I actually like the girl on the balcony. I mean, I wish we could just hang out and watch TV.
22. Meaning: his sexuality revolves around the Metro bus. He sits in the back and touches himself every time the bus stops for someone carrying a shopping bag.
23. By choice! I would never do anything I didn’t want to do and I want to do all of it!
24. Not an actual hotel.
25. Meaning: go down on me when Metro’s not around.
26. Right next to her brother’s name and her first dog’s paw print.

 
 
 


Carol Guess is the author of more than a dozen books of poetry and prose, including Tinderbox Lawn, Darling Endangered, and Doll Studies: Forensics. She is Professor of English at Western Washington University, where she teaches Creative Writing and Queer Studies.

Aimee Parkison is the author of Refrigerated Music for a Gleaming Woman, which won the FC2 Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize. She is the director of the Creative Writing Program at Oklahoma State University and has published four books of fiction. More information about her and her work is available at www.aimeeparkison.com, and you can follow her on Twitter at @aimeeparkison.