“Clara Venus” by Ava Johnson

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Variously described as “cool,” “wow,” “neat,” and “fun,” Ava Johnson is a senior studying creative writing and literature at the University of Montana. She likes candy, memes, gay stuff and things that glitter. She is very nice. Congrats on your honorable mention for your poem, “Clara Venus,” Ava!

Clara Venus
by Ava Johnson, after Arthur Rimbaud’s “Venus Anadyomene”

Does this lipstick make me look beautiful
or like a dead fish with lips or both?

On any given day, I am whatever
the glam version of an Ed Gein skin suit is:

you wear my nipples and I wear yours.
Bring your catalog of avatars

and strange prosthetics to my house,
after you get home from school, and also

that teal ski mask, and also
your sequin skirt, and also

I love you, and you look cute, today.
I love when you buy new nylons

just so you can tear holes in them.
You make me wanna play dress-up,

steal some nice champagne
and throw a slumber party!

Let’s all toss our nipples in a Ziploc bag
and trade until no one has a matching pair.

Then after the sutures
we can select our tongues, like witches’ pendants,

from some VCR parts. If we’re bored
we can always swap and make out:

you wear my tongue and I’ll wear yours.
Spin the bottle, kiss me,

probe my mouth with your movies. Curl it at the tip
like a flexing bicep, muscle my wet

mouth with your muscle.
Let’s choose our favorite genitals

from the box of vulvae, and fetch the trunk of cocks
from the kitchen freezer.

I wanna get lowbrow,
be your basement queen, forever.

Now watch me bimbo,
watch me Barbarella.

I am your power bottom,
I am your body horror.


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