“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”

Related Posts

an image of train tracks, seen through a window. reflection is faintly seen

Addis Ababa Beté

Steel kicks in this belly. // Girls with threadbare braids / weave between motor beasts and cement bags. // Tin roofs give way to glass columns. / Stretching as if to pet the clouds. // In the corners: cafés. // Where macchiatos are served / with a side of newspapers.

Image of a mirror reflecting another mirror.

February 2023 Poetry Feature

I’m searching my thoughts for a man’s lips, to bind his arms in a braid, / When in the stifling sleeplessness of a second a sob breaks out— / —and now purse your lips and coolly, firmly condemn me: here you have my nights—bare, shelled like peas.