NEA Literature Fellowships

Catie Rosemurgy

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(2007 - Poetry)

"Miss  Peach, Female Impersonator"

Call me depressed,
but does he love me because I'm low calorie?
Because I resemble a particular statue
but can move my tongue?

Call me Cassandraic,
but aren't we getting a bit comfortable
with being plain, with being shown up by small birds
and their braggart little names?

Call me tired,
but the world is hardly a stage. It's too cluttered
with trees. Especially the budding ones
which always steal the dying scenes.

Call me gloomy,
but don't I have a lover here somewhere?
Underneath all these eyelashes
and Daisy razors?

Call me sentimental,
but remember that time I was born?
Opening my mouth came so naturally to me.
And what an outfit. Cosmic spill.

Call me ambitious,
but what you thought was the whole world is
just my gatehouse. Your staring
is my tree-lined driveway.

Call me mannish,
but I pole my gondola down the river
that rushes into any gaps
between wanting and having.

So call me scary,
and please sit on my lap while you do.
Tug on every hairy and hairless part of me.
Remind me which parts are real,

and I'll wear cotton candy
garters and clean out gutters
you didn't even know you had.
Like everyone else

I'm a sucker for being held close
and absolved of weaknesses
I don't necessarily have.
Call me an optimist,

but I believe that inside every girl
is someone who is not a girl
but who looks like one and laughs.
Call me closer is all. By a name

you've made up just for me. Little Pistachio.
Dull Meat, Colored Shell.
Name anything you like
and look harder. Call me that, too.

Catie Rosemurgy is originally from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where she still spends time each year. She currently lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and teaches creative writing at The College of New Jersey. Her poetry collection, My Favorite Apocalypse, was published by Graywolf Press. She is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Award for Emerging Female Writers.

Photo courtesy of the author

Author's Statement

When I found out I'd been selected for an NEA grant, I had a moment, just a moment, of such happiness and excitement I felt my edges start to blur. The rush of sudden good fortune is a powerful one. I've had only two other such welcome surprises in my writing life and the memory of that instant, chemical glee has carried me through many a doubt and fear. I'm still happy and excited, thrilled even, about receiving this award, but my boundaries are once again intact. The writing time the award allows and the buoying sense of support and recognition are the best gifts. I am utterly grateful for the Endowment, for this fine and sustaining national tradition.