Paulette Beete

Fan Letter
                        for Christian Kane

The Spanish say “I have hunger,” and yes, I carry hunger around like a Chihuahua in a designer purse, like a sacrament or a penance.

I have a feeling you know the names of trees and rocks by heart. I can tell by the way you gargle the song in your mouth before you spit it out.

When Gandalf tumbled down with the fiery beast as Frodo and Aragorn looked on, that’s how it is when I pry open my mouth to explain why “A Different Kind of Knight” has been on repeat for more than a year now.

You say, “I wrote this song because I got tired of apologizing to women about how I am.” Which explains not why I hold my breath after I say your name, not why you are my favorite cuss word, not why I am too old for this sort of crush but there it is again, regular as toothache.

Many women my age are not of this age: we have no high-tech surrogates for sweaty palms and leaky hearts. We talk about our hearts in public, unshamed but probably guilty. It’s like having a hangnail, or wishing you didn’t believe the old wives tale as you reach for the last cookie, or deliberately not wearing underwear and spending eight hours on the threshold as one fear wrestles another.

Let me let you go—though this hasn’t gone on nearly long enough for you to believe this is a metaphor for everything that waves goodbye after 40, like a series of speed bumps easy-baked into a map, like each lump of your body is a language unto yourself.

I can status update you to death and it won’t make a difference or the only difference it makes is, say, on a Saturday morning when you’re still drunk from last week and lodged in the corner of your eye is a grit of a girl. (I mean woman, don’t I?) You tune your guitar and sing a few choruses in her honor. For one minute, she burns like twilight.

Paulette Beete’s work has appeared in or is forthcoming in journals, including Crab Orchard Review, Redux: A Literary Journal, Gargoyle, Escape into Life, Found Poetry Review, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and many others. She’s the author of the chapbooks Blues for a Pretty Girl (Finishing Line Press) and Voice Lessons (Plan B Press), and her work appears in the anthologies Full Moon on K Street: Poems About Washington, DC and Saints of Hysteria: A Half-Century of Collaborative American Poetry. She blogs (occasionally) at

 … return to Issue 8.1 Table of Contents.