I Always Knew, but This Is When I, Like, Knew

In The Ring when the fly in the in-film film becomes the fly in the scene crawling across the TV screen, and when a fly landed on my TV as the movie glowed. In The Fly when the woman, pregnant by the man turning slowly into a fly, has a dream of giving birth to a wriggling white larva. On the packaging of a $2 sci-fi flop DVD, the great slugs oozing slime onto the cast of campers. Camping, when my cousin plucked, from his car tire, a caterpillar he roasted like a marshmallow in the fire. In Ghost Busters when the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man becomes the demon bent on tearing some great hell into our universe. In our universe, where all these unhappy specimens slide inside every moment in the city, like in Men in Black where all the aliens make everything around you work, every light, every post office, every day you thought you had without us.


(              ), n

Mother’s not the kind of woman who bats her eyes, but she & father joked their baby’d be a head of hair & one big eyelash. I slipped out with my full-bodied black head & they were too right. Till I turned blonde, till I turned dark-haired again on my third birthday. Those were the days of window seats, a dictionary in my lap. I don’t care, I don’t care, I don’t care, I’d say & flip through the volume of definition. It’s true it doesn’t matter much to find one exactly right word, not if you’ve got the means to make a sentence. Or so I fear. In my peter-pan collared party dress I wept. Yes, Mother, I’ve always gotten sad at all my parties. But then you brushed my hair. Then hair covered both halves of my head, & when you said, Honey, you look beautiful, you looked me in the eye. Thanks for shaving my legs for me the first time. Thanks for showing me how to hold a pair of tweezers. If a skill goes unused, there’s still power in the learning. And the unlearning. Now when aunts bend down to read my tattooed knee, I hear them. The razors in their mouths. When they say, Cool, & when they don’t say, How many years has it been? Since I’ve needed any name.


Thought Experiment with Comb & Candy


I stooped to pull garbage     from the heel of my shoe

I peeled off a pink      damp flower petal I hate to say this

I want it just for me     like how today I walked four Victorian blocks

a real life baguette in my arms

One day the child me woke to sureness     that when my mother

left the room     she’d never existed     I’d say Mother

but mother a word     only I knew

The people we are to each other     a total thought experiment

If from my bed     I never watched you

through two doorways

comb your hair     then what is this: me not looking

in the mirror but me     having seen you look in one

I’ve said love     & meant a command

You     oh soft & scared one     dive

with a needle to my center

& extract & hold to light     make of the goop

in the syringe     a sparkle of

my thoughtlessness      I rise in the world

through want for you     to want as I want your hearts around

my face     Reach in &   show me

a fistful of gummy worms




Hannah Rego is a writer from Louisville, Kentucky. They have attended residencies and workshops through Spalding University’s Low-Res MFA, Sundress Academy for the Arts, Winter Tangerine, and the June Jordan Teaching Corp at Columbia University. Their poetry appears or is forthcoming in BOAAT, BOMB Magazine, The Arkansas International, Underblong and elsewhere. They live in Brooklyn and on twitter @hannahkalena.