Kasey Erin Phifer-Byrne

Tallest Man and Half Lady

He lifts me
to reach the shelf

where the licorice
is hidden—
when the kitchen boy

turns his back
and I, legless,
on his hip

open the package,
feed him

ruby red strips
before dinner—
then he feeds me

the costume car

Sometimes in the dark
I feed him

from my base,
he makes me shiver
in the heat


They bill us
together, she and I
by number of visitors—

when we’re filled
with stars and she wears
her finest half-dress

and tailors my trousers,
runs her hand

up the inseam
and pauses at the top

They don’t bring
their children
to see us

like this,
on these days

They know better
when we’re happy

one in the arms
of the other,
they can tell

she makes me
feel so much taller,
she makes me feel

like I could touch
the ceiling

of the world,
like we could

climb right out
through its blue top

Kasey Erin Phifer-Byrne is a native of southeastern Pennsylvania and a transplant to Tucson, Arizona. She has an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she worked as an editor for Devil's Lake. Her work is published or forthcoming in West Branch, Hayden's Ferry Review, and other journals.