Spa Days

By KEETJE KUIPERS

I drive through the yellow ribcage of maples
arching the road, past the butch woman I want
to be, raking leaves in her front yard, hair
slicked back at the sides. Yesterday, searching
the internet for winter tights, I found crotchless ones,
a model’s diffident fingertips barely obscuring
the hairless glow of her pussy, and remembered
the years I spent lying on a table in a quiet room,
piped sound of harps descending from the ceiling,
while some other woman carefully made my body
as smooth and unthreatening as a child’s.

I didn’t hate those days, or the men I then took
to bed, though I was always trying to fuck my way
towards the woman I believed was hidden
inside each one of them. I knew it would require
a deep dive, a sinking past waves and midnight zones.
How strange to discover then what I’ve become
through that slow, fruitless searching—the water
itself, every dark glitterless bit of it like the back
of a rhinestone: flat, matte surface where you
put the glue. And the music, all these years later,
still ringing in my ears from that distance above me.

 

Keetje Kuipers‘s third collection, All Its Charms, includes poems honored by publication in the Pushcart Prize and Best American Poetry anthologies. Keetje has been a Stegner Fellow and Margery Davis Boyden Wilderness Writing Resident. She is the editor of Poetry Northwest and a board member at the National Book Critics Circle.

 

[Purchase Issue 25 here.]

Spa Days

Related Posts

Headshot of Anne Pierson Wiese

Sharp Shadows

ANNE PIERSON WIESE
On our kitchen wall at a certain time / of year appeared what we called the sharp / shadows. / A slant of western light found / its way through the brown moult of fire / escape hanging on to our Brooklyn rental / building for dear life and etched replicas / of everything

box with art on the inside

The Most-Read Pieces of 2023

As our new year of publishing and programming picks up speed, we at The Common wanted to reflect on the pieces that made last year such a great one! We published over 200 pieces online and in print in 2023. Below, you can browse a list of the six most-read pieces of 2023 to see which stories, essays, and poems left an impact on readers. 

headshot of leo rios next to issue 26 cover

Podcast: Leo Ríos on “Lencho”

LEO RÍOS
Leo Ríos speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about his his story “Lencho,” which appears in The Common’s fall 2023 issue.