When the camera closes in on my tense jaw
the audience winces. When the camera is inserted
into my digestive canal the viewers at home
go back to browse.
I am not an acceptable hit.
I find myself closing
the producer’s door spitting something different
every time.Peer in; how big these tonsils got
—blushing negligee pink. Mesh teddyto cover
my liver bulge.I line my ass up
with my sisters, cheeks side-by-side.
We used to call each other “shotgun shells” with pride.
The casting director asks me to list
what I won’t do.
The verb to do stripped of achievement, of product.
At every intersection, passersby don’t think
about my face. They don’t question the burns,
just keep licking
their ice cream cones
bemoaning sticky fingers.
I’ve graduated to morning rodent—
When I slip in through the basement door you’ll say
good morning rat
and I’ll draw the water for my bath.
HANNAH KUCHARZAK is a poet living in Chicago. She earned a B.A. from Bennington College, and is a recipient of the 2012 Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award. Her poems appear in Ghost Proposal, Pitch & Rail, the Illinois State Library, and elsewhere. She is a web editor for the Poetry Foundation and MAKE Magazine.