in the room of bellies and receding hairlines and big feet,
in the room of wrinkles and stubby fingers and obliques,
in the room of chins and thighs and noses and eyes

“Did you know we hear ‘interjects’—
shoulds that interrupt our thoughts?”
the seminar leader asked. And we all
knew it even if we didn’t. Then, naturally,

we each selected a body part
we disliked—though we should
prize them all—and roleplayed.
Pretending to be my biceps

meant shrinking my whole self tiny,
as my partner, a stranger I was supposed
to confess to, instructed, “Biceps, describe
your relationship to Brad,” and I said,

“He hides us. He wears long sleeves
to trick everyone.” “How does that make
you feel?” And I said, “Unimportant,” and
“Like a pair of little kids no one listens to.”

“In the shower, how does Brad soap you?”
“Quickly,” I said, “rushing across us
before he can think.” “And what do you do
for Brad?”

And I said,
“Let him keep the hands
that hold the water glass.”

Posted by kind permission of the poet.
Photo by Lucaxx Freire

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Brad Aaron Modlin

Brad Aaron Modlin

About the author

Brad Aaron Modlin is the Reynolds Endowed Chair of Creative Writing and a professor at University of Nebraska, Kearney, where he teaches undergraduates and grad students, coordinates the visiting writer series, and keeps "healthy" snacks in his office filing cabinet.