Chaelee Dalton

Poem Under Wear



I was doing all the laundry in the tub.


Weeks passed and I couldn’t squeeze anything else out.


Here’s how I wore my underwear: inside out. Rewound. Reversed.


Here’s how she wore her underwear: without.


What is there left to say.


We chafed.


I cooked our meals naked.


Better the oil splatter my skin than my clothes.


Sexiness was anything not a thong.


Sexiness was on a screen.


When I was sad, I watched Rihanna be herself.


Her little laugh.


Her little pointy sunglasses.


Her monochromatic outfits.


After a knife sharpener, the last thing she bought for me was Rihanna’s underwear.


Full-bottom or cheeky.


Crotchless but not assless.


I grew fearless.


I grew an ass.


I looked so beautiful it made her cry.


After things ended, I regretted nothing.


Except I wanted what she had given me.


Lace, spandex, stretch, carefully selected






an Asian pear is like a pear

except more crisp in texture

is like an apple except

brighter, flesh alive

against my teeth. an Asian pear is

never a metaphor.

always a hybrid. I learn

you are what you eat,

and I learn

people don’t want to eat

anything that reminds them

of the body. the body

is like a pear

or like an apple

except brighter, flesh alive

against my teeth. she says

your body is like soup

because it warms

my hands. I like that

because I believe my body

takes new shape

depending on who is holding.

not like anything else

in her hands, I am a body

spilling out of itself.


CHAELEE DALTON (이채연) is the author of the chapbook Mother Tongue (Gold Line Press, May 2021). You can find their work published or forthcoming in Penn Review and Agave Review. A poet, zine maker, and educator, they have presented their work at arts and activist events in Seoul, Los Angeles, and New York. Born in Uijeongbu, South Korea, they currently live in New York.