JoAnna Brooker

summer body

the second sweat congregates at my ankles, it’s time to shed my top layer Γ  la mode. the flavor? coconut. the consistency? curdled whipped cream. I lather baby shampoo all over my pits, crevices, locomotives, press start on the hazy shower cage, and stat –

my beararms rip at seams.
my razorsgummy and cloggedI immerse
in Tupperwareswirl in warm water to release
rinse and repeat.

for a dazed moment my boobs
have sideburns
fur stuck to my skin.

the hair releases like ticks
my skin burns at cutsacross my
tiny rosy creeks

where fingersslip.bloodpetals

on the white shower floor.

next: a wolf’shaunch,the cellulite of
an ostrich leg.a bunny tail –

last snipped, save for later.

I emerge from the foamy cocoon
fresh as a robotbaby,legs –

a pink dolphin.charcoal gills,

face of a hairlesscat.

diluted tiger stripes,shiny melons,
the whole kabob.

when there’s one body I’ve been trying to squeeze into my entire life. who can fit the wild in me, into a double 00 Daisy Duke, a bikini Instagram thirst trap, my pageant mother’s expectations, the double sum of nothing?

About the Author

JoAnna Brooker is a graduate of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in Journalism and English Rhetoric and the 2021-2022 Writer in Residence for the Sundress Academy for the Arts. Recent work has appeared in Figure 1, Jet Fuel Review, and Menacing Hedge. When not writing poetry, JoAnna performs standup and produces comedy shows with the collective Tiny Stage Comedy. Find JoAnna online at and on Instagram @CupOfJoAnna.