Brittany Perham

Double Portrait

I stand at the podium
praising him.

I’m pink and casual. I look
at the audience. I look anywhere-but-him.

I tried on my dresses
speaking to him:

It’s nice to see you,
I tried on telling him.

Go for a drink?
I tried on asking him.

Then I practiced my undressing,
just in case, in front of him.

Take off your shirt?
Tonight I’ll ask him.

Take off your pants.
He’ll want me to tell him.

I stand at the podium
praising him.

I conclude my smartest remarks.
Everyone claps for him.

He kisses my cheek and forgets my name.
I don’t want to embarrass him.

Brittany Perham is the author of The Curiosities (Free Verse Editions, 2012), and new work appears in Southwest Review, 32 Poems, and Colorado Review. She is a Jones Lecturer in Creative Writing at Stanford University, where she was a Wallace Stegner Fellow. She lives in San Francisco.