C. Yun

La Petite Amie

Volume 16:1, Winter 2015
Sonnet Issue

La Petite Amie

My mother dislikes my “lifestyle” though changes impermanent—
bob-cut, breasts bound—I pawn a dress for a man’s suit.

How could you live this way? I tell her about an older woman,
her camera lens, sheer stockings, rhinestone heels, and cigarettes.

She took me home one night to show me her darkroom,
photographs of monuments clipped by a clothes-pin.

Leaning into my chest, she whispered, Je veux te faire l’amour, chérie.
And I didn’t resist, my necktie on her safe light, I watched

her photographs come into focus—a wrinkled peach under
an index finger, a girl twirling a toy umbrella. She unlaced me.

Vous sont si mignons, she said, my hands cupped protecting
my breasts. Là. She lifted both my hands like the wings of a baby bird.

Afterwards, the air felt different—the heater a low
drum-hum, her photographs blurred as the room glowed in umber.


C. Yun's poems have appeared in Cutbank, Folio, Fourteen Hills, The Feminist Wire, The Northern Virginia Review, and Poet Lore. She lives and works in Northern Virginia.