A Poem by Ellen Hagan

From Blooming Fiascoes

April 12, 2021  By Ellen Hagan

On hearing in middle school that a pussy smells like fish—

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How I wish I’d said, yes I’m a saline marinade. We all are. My pussy is an avalanche
of salt. Tastes all mermaidlike & alkaline. Brine flavored. I’m savory sodium chloride.

Oceanic to the tongue. Relish the zest of my fresh, brackish flesh, I’m all surf water’s
savory smack. I can sink you with my sapidity. Hook & net. Bait you with my relished

tang. My composition is compulsory, a soluble stimulus that your 7th grade self
can’t contain. You think you’re so cute. With what you imagine to be slant/put-down

punishment. How you lopped our sexuality down with one slight, sneering snub.
Suppression in the form of snide. How even then I imagined it compliment. Knowing

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I’d find someone to long for my pungent delectability. Went to sleep secure that either way,
I loved the savorous, scrumptious sea that lived inside of me.


blooming fiascoes

From Blooming Fiascoes by Ellen Hagan. Published with permission of TriQuarterly Books, an imprint of Northwestern University Press. All rights reserved.

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Ellen Hagan
Ellen Hagan
Ellen Hagan is the author of Hemisphere (TriQuarterly Books, 2015) and Crowned. A writer, performer, and educator, she is the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship in poetry and has received grants from the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance and the Kentucky Foundation for Women. Her poems and essays have been published in Creative Nonfiction and Poetry Northwest and in the anthologies She Walks in Beauty, Southern Sin, and Women of Resistance. Hagan is the director of the poetry and theater departments at the DreamYard Project and directs their International Poetry Exchange Program with Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines. She coleads the Alice Hoffman Young Writers Retreat at Adelphi University. She lives with her partner and children in New York City.

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