National Poetry Month Day 9: Carrie Murphy


Beauty Work

Today I wore jeans in the sweltering heat
& sweat pooled in my crotch.
There was a girl on the metro
with eyeliner like Priscilla Presley
& I suddenly saw her
on her wedding day, with hair tousled
& makeup a little smudged,
beaming on a bed in a brocade room,
the ever-after romantic
comedy honeymoon suite
in a castle turret where
the lingerie comes off like

eating French fries at the mall
in a sexy way, one slim golden fry
dragged through a pair of red lips,
pert tongue for the little blob
of ketchup. My legs
up on the dash in a skirt as if I wanted
to flash every other driver with a sly
from the side. It’s not a political
statement if you shave your armpits, except it is.
Except it isn’t.

My grandmother would never say armpits,
she would say underarms, a lovelier word,
but it still means the part where you sweat
that should have the perfectly zero amount
of hair as an asshole should have, said the
aesthetician who rubbed
ice cubes all over my raw vulva
& kept me laughing as she ripped

& I lay there thinking of
how I’d have to wipe gingerly
& how I’d walk out of there—
how I’d walk.

–Carrie Murphy


Carrie Murphy is the author of the poetry collections FAT DAISIES (Big Lucks, 2015) and PRETTY TILT (Keyhole Press, 2012) as well as the chapbook, MEET THE LAVENDERS (Birds of Lace, 2011).  She received an MFA from New Mexico State University. Originally from Baltimore, MD, Carrie works as a teacher, freelance writer, and doula in Albuquerque, NM, where she is a member of the Dirt City Writers collective.

Original poetry published by The Rumpus. More from this author →