I’m not like you
and don’t you ever forget / it takes practice to access what you demolished / when you see us / you feel something for the first time
I’m not like you
all the years I didn’t know that were rough for me wasted so much time thanking useless people just because they have floor to ceiling shelving and natural light in every room a car in a parking garage to take them to the end of the nearest peninsula the history of married men bored of jerking off into their own hands definitely precedes me our flesh isn’t any softer we just moisturize and care and the sheen from fighting makes us glow really nicely having something real to fight against is pretty hot you gotta admit you and your spouse think it thru you hate me and my friends who address the world from the vantage point of . . . you know . . . loins . . . feelings . . . a fucking heart and don’t you ever forget it takes practice to access what you demolished when you see us you feel something for the first time you act like you aren’t that turned on the shit that gets you hard is a debased topic and you prefer to keep your pages clean read critics who describe our ideas as “rousing” “spirited” “important” “brave” you live with someone who sanitizes everything even before this and definitely after listen: let your pussy breathe for once in yr goddamn life it’ll be easier to come if you don’t smell like flowers my friends and I smell like we’ve been outside we sweat thru the sheets and take the bus to the beach we want to play in the waves at the end of the islet you’d love to rub up against me in person one day wouldn’t you when I tell you about that photographer you say you’re sorry women me like have to constantly deal with men like that but I know when you go home later tonight the details from my sordid story are what keeps you going no one has ever really wanted to fuck the person they’ve merged assets with that’s why I’m not surprised to know you imagine me constantly don’t you underwear bunched down by my ankles flipped over onto my stomach you wish you knew me better like really actually knew me back then when I thought I was so disgusting it turns out I’ve always been interesting not that I expected you or your blood family to admit everything about your fantasy life comes from women like me every single time you forgot your earthly problems felt your flesh as starting point dreamed real legit dreams you better believe it was me fucking me and my friends whose names are only uttered when you need to feel better and if it weren’t for us where do you think you’d be right now? seriously tell me what meaning would your life have if we were no longer buried under the very earth you’ve been trampling on since the first in your line was born and decided to stay
Jenny Zhang is the author of the short story and poetry collections Sour Heart, Dear Jenny, We Are All Find, and (forthcoming) My Baby First Birthday. She is the recipient of the Pen/Bingham Award for Debut Fiction, the LA Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, and an O. Henry award. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Harpers, N+1, and elsewhere. She has taught at Columbia University, The New School, and various NYC public high schools. She has an MFA in Fiction from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a BA in Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity from Stanford University.
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