My father collects sea glass, pez dispensers,
corks from every kind of bottle.
Gumball machines. Hulk comics. Novelty matchboxes
painted with beautiful, glittering women.
When I was twelve, I would steal these matchbox women
from his nightstand, and hold their painted bodies
in the meat of my palm. There’s no good metaphor for boobs
so I won’t try. But I guess that’s always been my weakness:
bad metaphors. Beautiful women. At night I would strike
match after match, smelling the sulfur, letting it burn
all the way down. Fascinated with bodies so much like mine. Touching myself,
with fingers still warm from the flame.
Like my father, I also collect. Frog candle holders. Tiny sticks.
Boxers from ex-girlfriends and postcards from a woman
who doesn’t know I love her. I wear these collections like a good suit:
a soft kind of armor
following the YouTube tutorial for tying ties
because my father never taught me, each tail of the cloth
becoming one more thing I must twist
to fit into.
Callan Foster is a lesbian poet and high school librarian. She lives in Seattle with her cat, Ralph.