Simone Person

To the White Woman in Indiana with the Tiny Backpack Who Interrupted Me and a Friend to Ask if We Knew This Was a Non-Smoking Campus as I’m Halfway through a Cigarette

Yes, we knew, as surely as your Tevas know the way to the closest
food co-op. There’s so little for me here. So little of me here.
So much time wasted crafting myself into edges, of flossing barbs
through my teeth, and braiding razor blades in my hair just to be
able to walk down the street. Just to smoke in peace on the
non-smoking campus I was born too broke and not
enough enough to even be assumed to attend. I don’t expect you
to understand what it feels like here in Indiana, how
the footsteps behind me on my walks home are louder,
that every car passing feels sinister, the way the sun downs
so quick in this town, and there’s fewer reasons that seem to warrant
leaving bed. White people are always asking me questions we both know
the answers to, trying to string me up and drag me behind sentences.
And if this was the first time a white person talked at me
like I was stupid, maybe my mouth wouldn’t have spit nails,
rattling your tiny backpack, and transforming you
into afraid and me into the spook you knew I was anyways.



I Actually Prefer Fat Women
After Dan Weiss’s advice Tumblr Ask a Guy Who Likes Fat Chicks

watch how I can balloon
my body in a single bound I’m
every tired circus cliché &

you’re in the front row popcorn-stained
teeth waiting for me to expand you say
fat women are better because every part

of us is everlasting everywhere a new swell
to press your mouth & drink until you’re sick
a pillow perfect for your head a warm dark

taking you back to when your parents still hid
fights behind closed doors to when you didn’t
know hands could be for breaking

fat women are better because we’re mango-bodied
beauties our skin sugar-rich waiting to be sucked
clean swear we’re better built to take a real pounding

never ask why when you think of me you conjure
me splintering a shipwreck in your sheets
find me the most holy beauty as your mouth blooms

bruises on my neck your fingers cuff-tight
around my wrists & maybe if I was smarter
or prettier or more of something somewhere

I wouldn’t so readily be your coconut baby let you
split me in half for your feasting wouldn’t allow
your hands to find home between my thighs

I’d become strong in all the ways
that’d heal the smoke girl I was I’m
always trying to leave behind


Versions of these poems were published in the following:

“To the White Woman with the Tiny Backpack in Indiana Who Interrupted Me and a Friend to Ask if We Knew This Was a Non-Smoking Campus as I’m Halfway through a Cigarette” appeared in The Account: A Journal of Poetry, Prose, and Thought.

“I Actually Prefer Fat Women” appeared in Puerto del Sol.