M.J. Iuppa

Human Resources
If you were 20 lbs. lighter, you would be desirable, he said, over a steaming
cup of coffee. His lizard eyes undressed me as I stood before him in the break-
room.  My arms circled my waist, latching on to my love handles.  I squeezed
my rolls of fat, feeling flushed and uncertain of my next move.  Usually, quick
to respond, I said nothing.  I stared at him, wishing all his teeth would fall out.
A curse is hard to prove in this day and age. I held revenge between pursed
lips and waited patiently for his mouth to bleed.

The Art of Paper Dolls
Fold, pinch, tuck— turning the weight of paper in-
to limbs, heads, torsos—one becomes six identical
blank faces. Which body changes in the snip of scissors?
How do eyes, noses, mouths drawn in surprise create a chorus?
When you pull this construction in opposite directions,
they stand ready in a straight line— a chain of demand,
this petition of women, waiting their turn to strike out
on their own, with only vintage clothes on their backs
that suggest who they are or what they’ll do, leaving
home without a proper name, or language, or skills—
only that hard pressed look.

M.J. Iuppa’s fifth full length poetry collection The Weight of Air from Kelsay Books was released in September 2022; and, a chapbook of 24 100-word stories, Rock. Paper. Scissors. will be, forthcoming from Foothills Publishing in 2022. For the past 33 years, she has lived on a small farm near the shores of Lake Ontario. Check out her blog: mjiuppa.blogspot.com for her musings on writing, sustainability & life’s stew.
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