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ISBN: 978-1-62557-959-1
Categories Poetry

I Don’t Need to Make a Pretty Thing

Publication Date: December 2016


Catcall #27

Slow down baby, slow down baby, you look so good from behind, baby slow down, please slow down baby, damn, he said, and I slowed down. I slowed all the way down. I lay down there in the street. I stayed still so he could see all of me in the way he wanted to see it. Damn baby he said, and he took me in his arms. Damn baby, he said, and he kissed me just to see what I felt like. He traced the outline of my legs. He found the shape of what he owned. Damn baby, he said, and he married me right there. He made children with me. I stayed still. Damn baby, he said. Our daughters filled the street. Their legs, their mouths, their gentle hands. They grew tall. I watched them walk away from me. They watched me watch them walk away. Their father watched us watching each other, all of us learning what our bodies can do.


Michelle Reed’s poems move seamlessly between a world peopled with family, catcallers, and kickboxing gurus, and a world of wilderness and animal wonder, ‘whole bodies lost to greenery.’ In both landscapes, they eschew the merely pretty and point towards the strange, the tender, the place that hurts and the thing that heals. In this stunning debut, the poems listen hard and they speak back, weaving a subtle strength on the other side of pretty.

-Laura Donnelly, author of Watershed

About the Author

Michelle Reed

Michelle S. Reed grew up in Michigan and completed a Master of Arts in English at Bucknell University. She lives with her husband and their little dog in Chicago, where she is working on her second manuscript. Her poems have appeared in BodegaApercus Quarterly, and Watershed Review, among others. She dabbles in nonfiction when she is feeling very brave.

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