madame carface ducharme

her name: carface ducharme
occupation: revving heartbreaker

in the trial, madame carface remains 
beautiful as ever, with a heart carved 
on the left side of her windshield, alongside
the sticker residues and scratches
her rapist made in an attempt to remove

all traces of her identity.

her father was in the crowd—

the mechanic who saw madame 
carface as a child, abandoned outside his car 
repair shop in a white blanket.

when he refused to put her in the junkyard,
his wife and children left him.

madame carface ducharme

a distinct revving—soothing as a gurgle in a dream—
accompanies her voice and the sound of her name,
each syllable a mixture of a hiss and a whisper—
the sexy passion of an automobile.

madame carface ducharme does not know 
her real parents, or who is the car and the 
human, but she doesn’t care.

madam carface tells the aggression with pinpoint
accuracy—his tracks leaving memories
of the event. she describes his honking down on her.

he’s one of the many hearts she

has broken. she repeats his words:

so let me see what kind of car you are.

the rapist shouts,  just look at her. she is
waiting to get violated.
  madame carface ducharme
simply brushes off the statement by flicking
her hair and dimming her headlights, for she is 
a madame, not an object. she is her own brand, her own
charm, and she loves her work. 

Tristan and les damoiselles d’Avignon

Cassetta-framed, the five women’s stares exist like a sigh,

a slow exhale from the exhibition heat, which has crawled

into my skin and wriggled out as sweat, as it courses

down, stealing bits of dark beige and reapplying


the melanin as paint. The female voice of the audio guide

beckons: ‘none of the five women are conventionally attractive.’


The voice whirrs into a blur, while my surroundings disappear;

the fluorescent light retracts like birth in reverse; the vision


of the portrait launches me back into my childhood bedroom, where I

am lying in my bed on my chest, the surroundings sepia-toned,


glowing with the off-reddish hue of bruises. I am sweating

in the evening heat and trying to understand these same five


angular women captioned nude female prostitutes in the same

small space where popes, and geniuses, and women newly


acknowledged are labelled. My bedroom exists like a waking

dream, a nostalgic space that does not know its existence.


In this Picasso exhibition, I sit on a bench, staring at the women

and their angular imperfections, and I am lying in my bed,


hearing the booming laughter of dad and his mates, as they drink,

their clinking bottles buzzing as footsteps, crowd noise, finger tapping


against glass cases, heavy breathing. ‘You should sleep,’ mum

says, her face, like my bedroom, a round vacant space,


where no sharpness exist, her workplace pearl necklace

and apron coiled around her neck, her wedding ring


gleaming like a curse, staining the off-red scenery beige

like the five women’s painted flesh, harsh in the fluorescent


lighting of the exhibition. ‘The Damoiselles d’Avignon are menacing

and angular,’ the female voice says, but that is until they wear


mum’s face.  The five women capture reality into complete

stillness, their nude bodies existing as a vision. The heat


inside immures me, so I stand up; I stop listening to the audio guide,

and I walk across the exhibition’s hallways, stretched into the infinity.