“Can’t you see I’m a fool”


I was once in a denim skirt and cowboy hat, spilling milk in a grocery store.

How many songs did I learn to sing I was the fool?

I am a fool. I know I have been a fool—

these are the early future concepts out of which I turned into myself.

I watched The Invisible Woman with my mother.

All we knew of her was she was holding brandy

and a cigarette and was naked and invisible.

A blonde nude wherever you were clothed.

What was that time, what with my thin knowledge,

in a catsuit, put out in the cold, in which I found myself on the roof

and off which I almost fell, in those cheap heels and drunk?

In chilly Italy, I put out my arms and a man filled them with roses—

happy birthday! No coat, just the cowboy boots. I would miss my plane home.

It’s unspeakable. I’m asking you to speak it.


Lauren Hilger is the author of Lady Be Good and Morality Play. Named a Nadya Aisenberg Fellow from MacDowell, she has published work in BOMB, Harvard Review, Kenyon Review, Pleiades, The Threepenny Review, and elsewhere. She serves as a poetry editor for No Tokens.

[Purchase Issue 24 here.]

“Can’t you see I’m a fool”

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