Carrie Oeding

To the next person who dislikes me,
let me say it's true a person needs enemies,
and I'm sure you could be a great one,
one who thinks of insults while ironing silk,
one who is never wrinkled.
I'm sure I could stick it to you,
since I'm funny and you're not,
since I can scowl better than a barbecue grill.
Listen, Katherine tells me about her enemies.
She says they're like sweat in a Carolina summer,
spilling down your skin when you pick up a Coke.
She says sometimes they're more fun than eating chips.
She grins and says, Soon one will come around
for you, like my teeth rounding this apple.
The best apple I ever had was like having perfect teeth, it was like
comparing an apple to something instead of fucking eating it.
I’m guilty—I compare things to you too.
You could be a person or you could be an apple.
You could scorn me quicker than cavities.
I don't want to place insults next to you,
I want to think of a celery stalk and say you are like it,
but not in an insulting way,
and just think about it for awhile—
You are a sliver,
you are a chessboard,
you are a trampoline, you are—
I don't know, but I say this all to stall awhile,
I say this all with my barbecue scowl that's now a grin.
You are outside my house about to ring.
I am standing in my bathroom brushing my teeth.
Before you touch my doorbell and before we meet,
I should feel something for you
because I still can,
and I think I can't go anywhere and neither can you.






Recommended reading: Claire Bateman's poetry collections, Clumsy and Leap and William Gass's On Being Blue: A Philosophical Inquiry.