After an Older Man from Church Drunk-Texts to Tell Me I Looked Good Topless in His Dream Last Night

by Katie Manning


I wonder if my dream breasts were even close
to accurate: if he imagined the tiny mole like
a third eye between them, the stretch marks
raked across my skin. I wonder if the nude-
beach jokes he sent last week caused this
dream, or if the dream is just a lie he told
because he wants to talk about my breasts.
I wonder if he knows I once called him
handsome after a friend wondered aloud,
soon after his wife left, if he would remarry.
I wonder if I’ll forget this like I’ve forgotten
so many things men have said, or if I’ll think
of this each time I see myself in the mirror
before a shower, the way I often think
of the boy in seventh grade who asked why
my eyes are so close together. I’ve only
ever wondered how that boy could think
my eyes were too close. I don’t remember
his name. Maybe in another two decades,
I won’t remember this man’s name, and I
certainly won’t need him to tell me I look
good with my third eye perfectly placed.
I will see myself and know.



Katie Manning is the founding editor-in-chief of Whale Road Review and a professor of writing at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego.

She is the author of Tasty Other, which won the 2016 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award; her fifth chapbook, 28,065 Nights, is newly available from River Glass Books. Manning’s poems have appeared in American Journal of Nursing, The Lascaux Review, New Letters, Ruminate, Thimble, and many other venues.

Find her on Twitter at @iamkatmann and on her website.