poem: the art of fiction no. 1

my aunt is a poet, my aunt is this old woman
who sits framed in windowsills and does not recognize the
windowsill, the divide between inside/
outside, she tells that shit
like it is; that is the privilege of being old, when I talk
like that, people call me a bitch. but all I am
doing is telling the truth (according to my own
bland everygirl tumblr perception, ofc, and what
is wrong with that — you think that you
are more than trope? you think that?) my aunt reads
mostly Keats and Evelyn Waugh, but I am afraid
to try the capital-p Poets, I have been afraid since
the junior year of highschool, when we read Robert
Frost in class, and I could not get the
metaphor. the metaphor was that he
(“he” being the farmer, this is Robert Frost, of course it is
a fucking farmer, the bane of my post-rural
existence) was breaking the milky ice
in the water trough, in the morning, and I could
not get the metaphor, that all the strung-together
words came down to breaking water. I had in mind
something more abstract. I took tests online, afterwards,
to confirm that something was wrong with me and even now
I am not satisfied with the results. my aunt has stringy
grey hair, which she sometimes twists into braids
like she is Eowyn, I am No Man, although I remember watching
Brideshead Revisted with her and all our conversation were
about masculinity, we did not pass the Bechdel test, we were too eager
to discuss the Mystery — which is, what we
were not. I finally tried poetry and told everyone I liked
Sylvia Plath but barely read her,
except of course for “Daddy” and “Mad Girl’s Love Song,” both of which
I consider almost auto-biographical. Mostly I imagined
Sylvia Plath like MARINA & THE DIAMONDS from her
“Primadonna” era, and I kept that existentialist guilt/teenage
angst like a caught fish inside of my mouth, heating and splashing
out the insides of me, and only my aunt noticed,
and she took me on the windowsill, told me to delete
the windowsill, and let the inside/outside of my mind
spew metaphor in whatever bad
poetry I wanted to write. and I swear that even she
had no idea that she was only living inside me,
she had no grand identity, no published work, no legacy — but she
was so desperately jealous of my body, my tight young breasts
bound like myth, like narcissus, across the top of my body
and not obscured by the steam, when I sang Phoebe Bridger
and other tragedies in the shower.

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