I Love You When You’re Pretty

This piece was published maybe 10 years ago at a venue that no longer exists. When I first started publishing short fiction, there were many new, experimental web journals. Many of them were very good. Many good ones still exist, but many are, as David Thomas might say, now ghost-towns.

This piece also appeared in the first edition of my chapbook, What Other People Heard When I Taught Myself to Speak. That manuscript is going through some new revisions with a second edition coming sometime in the spring.

I Love You When You’re Pretty

When you said hi, I didn’t see you in her fitted polka dots and your hair like a USO girl and your legs in heels. Everyone is beautiful in your grandma’s pictures but we dress with conscience now, buffing out your curves or the square cut of my shoulders with fair-trade cotton. What right do you have, anyway, in eye shadow and stockings, wearing lipstick I can only see close? What right do I have, now, to closeness, to feel like cigarettes won’t kill me and sex is not transaction? What right to be pretty? And to love you when you are?

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