My body double has been lying in bed late
and living a luxurious life. I’m thinking:
get that ass I don’t want people thinking
is my ass to the gym. She needs a taking-
down if she intends to keep this job.
Isn’t it enough
she does my dirty work for me with pleasures
only dirty work can give? No pleasure had
without pain is inhuman. She was made
in my image — I incarnate,
I get away with my skin, but since there’s no
free lunch, I shatter into tiny particles
belonging to another realm
though visible in this. Every time I do this,
and I do this for a living,
my body double gets a check.
I have a mole they have to paint on our hip;
she has one on her forehead they cover.
— Ellen McGrath Smith
Ellen McGrath Smith teaches at the University of Pittsburgh and in the Carlow University Madwomen in the Attic program. Her writing has appeared in The American Poetry Review, Los Angeles Review, Quiddity, Cimarron and other journals, and in several anthologies, including Beauty Is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability. Her second chapbook, Scatter, Feed, was published by Seven Kitchens Press in the fall of 2014, and her book, Nobody’s Jackknife, was published in 2015 by West End Press. She lives in Polish Hill. Many writers featured in Chapter & Verse are guests of Prosody, produced by Jan Beatty. Prosody airs every Saturday morning on WESA 90.5 FM.