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  You could have a big dipper   

If I’m a Marilyn to You by Melinda Thomsen

Growing up, we called it a cooter.

If I braked suddenly on my boy’s

bike and hit myself there,

pain shot up into my jaws.

I’d clench my teeth and just

wait for agony to fade.

My friends called over,

did you hit your cooter?

I nodded and giggled.

Later, taking the stairs

at church, the beige

walls and carpeting

in the staircase turned

chute when a boy boxed me

in and grabbed me there.

Years later in New York,

a guy went for my crotch

as I got off a train, so I whacked

him hard with a library book.

What did he think? I’d unpin

my hair, take off my glasses,

like those movie librarians?

Even a soft-spoken woman

goes steely mad if forced

into that corral one

too many times.

Her reflexes kick in.

So, if I’m a Marilyn to you,

the one you think is a prize

for the taking, hang out

in an empty staircase,

a crowded subway,

or bus stop,

at your own risk.


Melinda Thomsen’s full-length collection, Armature, is forthcoming in 2021 from Hermit Feathers Press, and her chapbooks, Naming Rights and Field Rations, are from Finishing Line Press. Her poems have appeared in Rattle, Stone Coast Review,Tar River Poetry, The Comstock Review, Poetry East, North Carolina Literary Review, among others. She teaches at Pitt Community College in North Carolina.

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