Jessica L. Walsh is the author of How to Break My Neck (ELJ) and Banished (Red Paint Hill, forthcoming 2017) as well as two chapbooks. Her work has appeared in Whale Road Review, Sundog, The Fem, Midwestern Gothic, and more. She teaches at Harper College and lives in suburban Chicago with her partner and daughter. In addition to writing and working, she shoots arrows at targets and misses often, which is not a metaphor.

Jessica L. Walsh

Reading Plath with No Glasses

"How I ricochet between certainties and doubts…" Surely perfect, this misreading — how I ricochet between panties and doubts — for I lack certainties but could rope the yard with panties, my memoir in seven words, twelve fabrics, all colors. I believe in nothing but my desire: putting on and taking off what I want and when. The bartender's fingering while my date's in the bathroom is mine. The mercy fuck for the newly dumped, whether me or them, is mine. Laundry days are also mine, and cotton with width for a pad. What I graze, penetrate, shatter; what I hit, chip, dent; where I fly afterwards — I don't see certainties at all.

"Reading Plath with No Glasses" came to life after a poet I admire, Diane Seuss, posted the quotation above, and I wearily processed the word "certainties" incorrectly. Plath and Seuss are writers whose work is daring, bold, and gorgeous, while I often see mine as holding back in some way. Inspired by the humor of my error, awareness of many peoples' aversion to the word "panties," and a desire to be a less fearful version of myself, I took to the page. I love the word, by the way, so: panties.

Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published monthly by Glass Poetry Press.
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