Self-Portrait, 19 | Literary Arts | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Self-Portrait, 19

and hungry
sitting naked in front
of a mirror in West Virginia
with a tube of red lipstick,
feeling the thrill from the lines
of Dreamsicle-orange Adderall
I did on the coffee table
next to a half-smoked pack
of Camel #9 menthols
and empty cans of Diet Coke.

I exhale thick smoke
into blankets
trying not to laugh
at the part in Tropic of Cancer
when Van Norden sees a hairless vagina,
and inspects it with a flashlight—
I look down at my own bare space,
pink and smooth as the marble walls
of a church
where I used to daydream
and call it prayer.

— Caley Ferguson

Caley Ferguson graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan College in 2011 with a BA in English Literature and minors in creative writing and gender studies. In college, she served as a poetry editor for West Virginia Wesleyan's literary journal, The Vandalia. As an undergrad she studied with Aaron Smith, and has since studied with Jan Beatty and Nancy Krygowski through the Madwomen program. Her work has been featured in The Vandalia and Voices from the Attic Volume XVII. She lives in Morningside. Many writers featured in Chapter & Verse are guests of Prosody, produced by Jan Beatty and Ellen Wadey. Prosody airs every Saturday morning on 90.5 FM.

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