by Rennie Ament
DON’T OMIT TO ENQUIRE AFTER THE VULTURES
Recently, there was an artist’s talk where a not-so-famous NY-based white woman said, “I think I have a Vietnamese woman living inside me.”
Hearing this other white woman’s statement was a relief—I wasn’t the worst one. I wasn’t drooling into a cup and claiming I’d invented water. I was carrying my own life around like a magical stone. Eggs hatched in my presence: I had voted correctly. I was free to leave Queens and go gather clipped hair from salons in Manhattan with names like LeMetrique. Along the way, I paused to knot individual blond strands onto a cap of lace netting. The other white woman would soon wear my project over her preexisting growth, I thought (all my good thoughts reek of witchcraft). One night, her immediate family will hear a weird hooting and the next morning find my 100% human hair wig has rooted deep in the head of the mom.
I SALUTE YOU FROM THE PETRIFIED FOREST OF HUMAN CULTURE
Give me a word.
Your word is “feet”—
I’m insecure about my feet. One is flatter than the other and both pinky toes curl like factory reject cheese puffs. I can easily lick the toes of the left but have never tasted the right. Flexibility was my skill. Now I don’t even have that sentence. Shoes do all the heavy lifting. Crispy little hairs are thinning. Hormonally, I am a loaf. In the vicinity of knives. Put off, she ran to the bathroom, shocked there was a choice to change scene. “Suddenly” is the least sudden way to introduce sudden thought or act, but I always feel like plummeting, even in steadiest air—it’s the most boring thing about me. See the window’d branch stab sky—isn’t that optimistic? As if anything has a handle out there to grab/could be breathing.
IN INCREASING AND ALMOST TOTAL ALIENATION
Hello. They’re wrong. I’m not alone. I live in this lady. Peeping out from her keyholes. Soon I’ll install a light in here to enjoy eerie glistening while all her sphincters hold me tight like a small dog’s thunder blanket.
Rennie (Renata) Ament's work has appeared or is forthcoming in Colorado Review, Sixth Finch, Redivider, Yalobusha Review, minnesota review, The Journal, DIAGRAM, and elsewhere. She earned a BA in English from Skidmore College and studied poetry at Hunter College, where she has taught creative writing. Winner of the 2018 Yellowwood Prize in Poetry and a nominee for both the Pushcart Prize and Best New Poets, she has received support from the Millay Colony, the Saltonstall Foundation, the New York State Summer Writers Institute, the Vermont Studio Center and the Center for Book Arts. She lives in New York City.