TAYLOR MALLAY

 Thunder Thighs

I wrote this poem one night in 2018 while taking a course taught by fellow poet Katie Kalisz. I had been writing for a while at that point, but I didn’t truly understand the power of using sensory and environmental details to imply emotion until that time—until that night, really. Since then, I have viewed my writing process in more cinematic terms, imagining the work almost like a film, and myself as occupying all of the roles required to complete it, considering the frame, the images, the sounds, the blocking of the characters. Most importantly, I think, I restrain myself from attempting to step in and “explain” things to the audience. Of course, this isn’t a requirement of “good writing,” but it does seem to be particularly effective with subjects that are as difficult to write about as they are to read about. Even though this poem was completed years ago, I rarely submitted it to journals for consideration. Only recently have I felt ready for it to be out in the world, and I’m grateful to have it included in this space.

In the room’s thick dark, he explores me.

I say nothing.

 

His fingers trace my belly; below,

his hand claims a cheek.

 

When he comments on my slender frame,

it’s implied that I should learn to stop growing—

 

’cause right now you don’t have thunder thighs

like other women.

 

By the time my mother comes home,

I’ve been told to tuck myself in.

 

He believes there should be a line

somewhere, so he draws it at treating me

 

like a kid.

Taylor Mallay is a Midwesterner who enjoys tinkering away at poems here and there. Her work has previously appeared in The Dewdrop, ONE ART, and West Trade Review, among other publications.

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