Caveat Emptor

By Lara Egger

Featured Art: Untitled by Kayla Holdgreve

That I rock stilettos to boost my self-esteem—
at least I did until someone pointed out
they accentuate my cankles.

Maybe you can’t put lipstick on a pig
but no one can stop you from trying. Yep,

I’m definitely the whole package.
Roundly addicted to Takis Fuego,
to “let’s be empty together” sex.

My imagination’s fluent
in all of sin’s seven deadly dialects,

and since I’m not French
I look downright trashy when I fire up
a cigarette. That I’m no longer certain

it’s cost-effective to believe in soulmates.
That the horizon, by design, remains interminably

out of reach. Last month, the 7-Eleven cashier
asked how my father was doing.
It took me a second to realize she thought

the guy I’d been dating was my dad.
Clinging hard to my youth

might explain my attachment issues,
though honestly, I think I like older men
because the risk of them leaving me

for someone younger is diminished.
The trick to a quantum leap

is nailing the landing.
The problem with having a body?
All that audience participation.

My yearbook superlative should’ve read:
“Most likely to volunteer when the magician asks:

Who’s ready to be disappeared?

Lara Egger is the author of How to Love Everyone and Almost Get Away with It
(Juniper Prize winner, University of Massachusetts Press, 2021). She is a recipient
of a Massachusetts Cultural Council fellowship and winner of the Arts & Letters
Rumi prize. Egger’s poems have appeared, or will soon appear, in Verse Daily,
Ploughshares, Copper Nickel, Ninth Letter, Conduit, and elsewhere. Originally
from Adelaide, Australia, Egger now lives in Boston where she co-owns Estragon
tapas bar. she holds an MFA from the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers.

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