Two Poems by Caleigh Shaw

Caleigh Shaw
Appropriate Dress Length

If I was a church-going child in 2021,
I’d be able to find a midi-length skirt
or dress, past my knees no problem.
I could have saved so much time
in the Belk dressing room. When I
flipped through the Delia’s catalogue,
I needed a thirty-three inch dress,
but all the cute ones were thirty-two.
No need to press my dress behind
me, show my bottom to my mother,
make sure the fabric covers, that my
underwear doesn’t play peek-a-boo.
The slats were open in the church
pews, and I’d wonder if anyone
would see me if they looked under
my bench. I wore skirts for years
more than I should, three from
12 to 16, green, purple, orange plaid.
How did my cousins find cute clothes
every year? To look in my closet now
and see all the combos I could create.
Thank you Jesus for making me
uncomfortable to wear a mini skirt,
how dare I show my thighs, let
the wind blow through my legs.


College Boys’ Apartments

—The Bowerbird is known for its courtship behavior. They create a bower to attract mates by using various items, such as shells, leaves, feathers, flowers, discarded plastic, coins, and glass.

Clothes laying about,
             some on the bed,
                          some on the floor.
Maybe it’s clean?
             Their guess is just a bit
                          better than mine. What
objects have other women
             stolen? A beer koozie?
                          Maybe I should take
his miniature statue
             of the Eiffel Tower.
                          They never notice.
Walls are covered
             with a Grand Theft Auto
                          poster, a Red Hot Chili
Pepper album, and a flat
             Natty Light sign from
                          the box. Usually
there’s a cardboard figure
             somewhere. Maybe
                          a random black and white
picture of a man,
             maybe it’s Lil Wayne,
                          but there’s always at least
one. A stolen road
             sign from a blackout-drunk
                          kind of night in the closet.
Crumbs in the bed,
             maybe even a tissue.
                          Maybe in another closet
there’s a broken microwave
             with two year old barbeque.
                          The floor hasn’t
seen a cleaning chemical
             in months. When it was
                          clean? Who did it?
His mother, the last
             3 month long Tinder
                          Fling, or a girl
from last night? Underneath
             all that shit, the college boy
                          impresses the one they want.
Somehow, someway, we fall
             and we fall, every time.
                          Sometimes we even fold
their laundry before we leave,
             maybe make a bigger mess,
                          hoping it doesn’t impress
someone else.