The Age of Reckoning

By Lara Egger

My mother calls
                         my relationship with my body
anti-feminist. In other words, she’s worried
I’ve binge-loved
                             my way to emptiness. And it’s true
I once equated the male gaze
                                                    with praise, felt a certain power
when my own glance
                                                         like a cherry bomb
across the room.

                               I am moonlighting at the mall
of consequences—
                                  look at those Victoria’s Secret mannequins
being hauled out with the trash.
                                                         As for my appendages,
let’s say fire
                      sale or epilogue or single-use
                    The brightness in this? I’m almost never
that woman now, the kind other women
                                                                       should fear.
O lust, its biodegradable
                                           valor. O goat-sucker,
                                 Didn’t I once maim
a man into leaving his wife? Yes, I’m all blood sport
when I dance. Hindsight is a love-bite, desire’s
                                                                                  busted vessels.
I have a history
                             of getting what I deserve.

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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