Jessica Lawson: A Guide for Queer Femmes
How to fuck straight men (a guide for queer femmes)
Step one: You played a lot of tetris as a kid, right?
Step two: Find a human whose knuckle hair curls soft into questions. Let the idea of liking him exist.
Step three: He may open doors for you. Pretend this is your fetish.
Step four: He will name drop femme cultural figures he admires and not talk about putting his penis into any of them. This is a sign.
Step five: Watch your own soft knuckle hair lengthen into a kind of underline. Let the idea of him seeing this exist.
Step six: He may make sure you cum first because he thinks that his shudder will be the closing quotation at the end of this sentence. He may homophonically translate your animal sounds into the only language he knows. Pretend this is your fetish.
Step seven: Playing tetris, you learned to turn your body into as many directions as possible to fit it in.
Step eight: Playing tetris, you learned to do this while falling down.
Step nine: He may arrange your caresses into a wire because this is a man who fucks a lot of straight women and fucks them very well but does not know the bodies he loves are houses that pretend to be clothes-lines. He kisses your taught length. He lays the wet laundry across it.
Step ten: You learn that the completion of a single row is the straight line that disappears in its own naming.
How to love straight men (a guide for queer femmes)
Step one: He may forget what your name is and decide that it is Beautiful, because this is the name of all of the other women he has fucked very well.
Step two: He may discover the purple tails that grow along your spine. He may not ask whether their downy tips can stroke you into orgasm. He may not see the forest of your body and the bliss you can creature yourself into. He will offer, with the only kindness he knows, to shave you down to only skin so that you can fit more comfortably into the luxury lace bras he expects you to own already. He will bring his own razor for this. Pretend this is your fetish.
Step three: Do not tell him that Roland Barthes believes I love you is always a quotation. Love him with your body under his until your bones scatter. A straight line that disappears into the quotation marks that sentences you to a lifetime of beauty, into the invisible border between sea and sky. Sweep up the footprints your breathing left. The sun goes down. Game over. You win.
Jessica Lawson’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The Fanzine, Cosmonauts Avenue, The Wanderer, FLAG + VOID, Dream Pop and elsewhere, and her reviews have appeared in Jacket2. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Smith College and a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa, and is finishing the MFA poetry program at CU-Boulder, where she serves as an editor for Timber Journal and teaches classes on creative writing and LGBT literature. She is a 2017 Pushcart nominee and her chapbook Rot Contracts was a finalist for the New Delta Review 2017-2018 Chapbook Contest. She has just completed a manuscript about the downfalls of trying to power bottom the patriarchy.