Washington Square Review

Shevaun Brannigan

What if I Don’t Even Like You?

Shevaun Brannigan

after “Depression” by Dorothea Lasky

Oh but I do, it’s just

some days you are a winter coat,

and I am too hot.


I feel depression in my forehead like a fever

I don’t want you to catch.


If sadness is a public feeling, I am an exhibitionist.


You let me eat the orange slice

at the Chinese restaurant


and half of me wanted to die

from your kindness,


the other half wanted

to die from scurvy. 

I have a sick mind,


a thick rind, some nights

I turn to you in bed and I am all fruit, others,


my back is to you, hard peel.

I only do one thing well,

and other people do it better.


If giving you my best meant

giving you an article of clothing,

it would be a pair of pilled pants.


I need you to reassure me

but from the other room. I’m topless and burning,


too fixated on my lopsided ribs,

the rickety ladders of my body

I’ll want you to climb tomorrow.



SHEVAUN BRANNIGAN is a graduate of the Bennington Writing Seminars, as well as the Jimenez-Porter Writers’ House at the University of Maryland. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in such journals as Best New Poets 2012, Rhino, Court Green, and Crab Orchard Review. She is the firstplace recipient of the 2015 Jan-Ai Scholarship through the Winter Poetry and Prose Getaway. Her favorite poetry gig is the workshop she leads at her local Domestic Violence Shelter.