Catherine Weiss

I Think I Know More About the World Than I Used To

in 7th grade i was sure my crush would love me if
we wore the same size shoes
so i convinced my parents to buy me
sneakers to grow on

this was my Very Good Plan for getting a boyfriend

at the pool party i tried to show mikey i was ready
for him to ask me out
look! we both wear size 9 ha ha
he glanced at my feet and said
yours are women’s not men’s
we still wear different sizes

i tell this story like it’s funny because
dramatic irony is when
the audience knows something
the characters don’t &
i’ve read a lot of memes
about gender since 1998

i am trying to figure out
how i am a feminist
and still hate the word tender

by 8th grade i hoped if i called the pretty ones boring
enough times i might steal all their boyfriends

tell me, if life isn’t a competition
why am i trying so hard to win it

one time i ran the mile in gym and my face stayed red for hours

one time i flashed my brand-new tit-things
at some grownups just trying to have a quiet lunch

one time i emailed my friend
from a fake hotmail to say
nobody likes you because you’re a bitch

i explain all this to help you understand why
i resented the spice girls

there were so many
and none of them were me


But Anyway, How Are You

i seem to be doing this thing lately where i preface
the answer to how have you been? by saying
i’m sure this is just the depression talking, but… 
before i launch into some over-wrought discourse
about bees and ocean acidity and how photosynthesis works
(though i do not know how photosynthesis works)
to lament our dying planet and how humanity is doomed
and then i explain that it occurred to me the other night
after watching much-too-much netflix that all the art
that’s ever been made throughout history will stop having
significance the moment nobody is left alive to argue over it
not the 90s one-hit-wonders or the not-read stacks of new yorkers
and i’m pretty sure an unread poem still counts
but i worry an unreadable poem is just a bunch
of molecules that threw a tantrum one time
and then i go on to explain to my visibly horrified
spouse/friend/colleague that i’ve been spiraling
because the emptiness humankind will leave behind
is already sorrowing the backyard songbirds and
isn’t the impending silence just impossibly tragic?? i ask
and then i do the worst thing of all which is laugh
dishonestly at my overwhelming anguish and confusion
before finally blaming this whole outburst on
the obvious target of february with a shrug that
assures everyone my fear is not so large that i can’t
tuck it politely into my pocket and get back to work
and it’s only much later after i have driven home and had
a good sullen sit and the cheesy half of a burrito
that it even occurs to me any of this might in truth
have actually been the depression talking and it’s not
that i’m too cool for hope it’s that mental illness
is just something about my body i have gotten used to
like fatness or knee-caps but sometimes there’s a sunny
patch of snow over by the fence and i am alone in the kitchen
for a minute neither sad nor un-sad and then i remember
that eventually there may be thaw


Catherine Weiss is a poet + artist + organizer based in Western Massachusetts. Their work has been published or is forthcoming in Tinderbox, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Counterclock, Noble/Gas Quarterly, and elsewhere. You can find Catherine at most any New England agricultural fair — she’s the one admiring the prize hog, covered in powdered sugar and doughboy grease, and flirting with full-blown heatstroke — or you can check out

Issue 9 •  Next: Maddie Ticknor