Two Poems by Chloe Whigham

Chloe Whigham

Kitty Cat

Down that dirt road, maroon pebbles stuck the glass.

I told myself I was going to climb pines,
Make my bony legs strangle the dark stumps,
Like I was a piloerect cat waiting for firemen to rescue me. 

Uncle called me Kitty Cat years before, because I walked on all limbs. 
I planted my hands like watermelon seeds into dusty brown dirt
And stumbled around like Uncle on a pack of Miller Lite. 

I was Kitty Cat, and the pines would hear my desperate yowls
And Uncle and Mom and Cousin would tear my clawed paws 
Off the bark, then say through happy, Miller Lite laughs,

“Quit climbing those damn trees, Kitty Cat!”

We Met, He Chased, We Married

Scott waltzed into my life of recklessness— 
I blew the smoke of Sweet Caporal cigarettes in the 
faces of boys,
said to hell with the prudishness of 
Montgomery’s gossiping southern madames
Who seemed to be allergic to any form of gaiety,
And I drank mint juleps by cerulean pools in a
Swimsuit that matched my skin tone because 
I wanted
My peers to believe I swam naked. 

He was wearing a soldier’s uniform and clutching tightly 
to a foggy glass of gin—I knew he was trouble then and there. 

He proposed to me inside a quiet, bare room
Of the Montgomery country club where we first 
faced one another. 
I laughed at the unthinkable ridiculousness of that 
penniless serviceman, 
And I never thought of saying yes for a single second. 

But I did not crush his spirits, and he came to me
Again and again, always holding his precious gin
How a lady holds her pearl-lined purse. 
He seduced me eventually—
The up-and-coming novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald,   
Plastered papers of American cities with his first publication.
I figured he could take care of me then. 

My father could not get the objection of our engagement
Past his mouth of a thunderous Alabama judge, 
Before Scott and I married, then packed up to leave
For New York City—a place that loves 
girls like me.