Hannah Kucharzak: Anxious Diva

Anxious Diva




Pull out your teeth. So there are none

to dream about losing. Touch each other’s


fingernails because bones are made of that stuff too.

Glance at my breasts, otherwise it’s not


hot. Get me singing a prayer. This one’s not optional.

Cuz when the moon fills up, someone’s


gotta notice. Bring me a pillow. We will discuss

how to use something innocuous to kill.


Unspool a long string, so that we may hold on

to each end. Turn on the TV after I get in your bed


for the first time. Slip into your skin suit. I can unzip it

from the back. Just kidding. I guess you had


moderately good intentions. It’s been hard to fall

because I’m so low to the ground. What about this one:


skeletons look so small in museums, what’s

that about! I begin to place the pillow over my face


because you’ve finally left the room. I wanted

chocolate this whole time, and here I am now,


with a wish to be a ghost. Ha ha, ever transparent.





I didn’t expect to see Anxious Diva tonight. Not since I was

doing so well. She tells me about creases in time.


How to be in two places at once. How to leave your pain

in a different room of the house. The shortest distance between points


is bending over. Sometimes like origami, sometimes like pressing

your face so hard into a pillow. Waking up


with a wrinkle on your cheek— forget it, the abused already know

how the softest intention can leave a mark. I won’t


explain it, it just always seems to happen that way.

Take, for example, him, who shows up


just as unbelievably as Diva, throughout my day.

He isn’t really every man on the street, I’m not


stupid. I know that much. I see him everywhere

so often that when he’s here, in flesh,


he’s just another ghost. When I step into

the honey spotlight, there’s a beam on myself and


a ghost of a man. Lord, don’t make me write this.

Who wants to read about you, ghost man, as if they all


haven’t at some point anyway? Only me, Diva.

I’m ready to die now; apparition not speaking.


I hope my corpse turns to air, so as to

rinse everyone’s fingerprints off it. To erase my own, too.


I hope I lose this tongue. So my heart can speak for itself.

I’m still mad at you, Diva,


that you brought me here in front of this ghost man

and told me I was in control of who I give my love to.


Snaky Diva, liar Diva, give me back who I was before

I gave myself up to a blank man inside and out.


Who showed me what it means to yearn for

six whole calendar years, crossing out every day


that time passed, that he never came for me,

came to place his hand on me like a preacher


and say I am sorry I hurt you here, then place his hand

on me like a lover and say I am sorry I hurt you here.


He showed me what it means to be

freeze dried, a woman of history, as all women are,


waiting for their work to be paid off. Diva, you left me alone

with him to watch myself become soft in his arms


against all sensibility. I was so ripe I did not see myself

begin to rot, and that is where you need to apologize.


Who says sorry first? Who is more sorry, the empty hermit shell?

Or the hijacked car, sputtering its way to the ocean parking lot?






Leave me alone, do you know what that means?

Budding the rose. I can’t stand anticipation,


throat clenched like a pit bull. Did you know

that red velvet cake is just chocolate dyed red?


One of Anxious Diva’s creations. Okay, you got me,

I’m stalling. I don’t want to talk about it. Do you?


The sleepless daylight, burnt past my eyelids

like developer forcing the image darker, like a sunspot:


his nervous hands. Clenched. Unsure. No matter

how much I stare at them, they don’t come unwoven.


To my surprise. To my undelight. There are lots of

images like sandpaper across my skull. Of birds


congregated outside a bar. A firetruck backing into

an intersection. A boulevard house, and in its window,


a handwritten “for sale” sign. Fuck memory.

Diva told me the number one cause of amnesia is


heartbreak. I never believe her but now I do.

How else do you explain your ghosts, erect, dubious?


How else then to continue, knowing only

the suture, knowing nothing of the wound.

Hannah Kucharzak is a poet and visual artist from Chicago. Her poems have been published most recently, or are forthcoming, in The Louder Coalition, Vagabond City, TYPO, Requited, Pleiades, and Pinwheel. Hannah is anthologized in Civil Coping Mechanisms' A SHADOW MAP: An Anthology by Survivors of Sexual Assault (2017). She is the recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Award and the Luminarts Award for Creative Writing.