The Sexiest Woman Alive

by Katie Chapel

As soon as she is crowned, the waning begins—
Sexiest Woman Alive (this Year), only to be replaced
like a first wife or a band with a one-hit wonder, thrilled
until she realizes that the title expires.
Who’s wondering about the Sexiest Woman Dead? Captured, frozen
in print, the moment has boys everywhere caught
in the magazine’s gaze, their desire suspended, in limbo
smashing against the page. And, spare a moment for last year’s hottie—
glossed lips, figure voluptuous in crepe de chine torn
down by minutes.
Those minutes: the gangs of boys existing everywhere,
their discontent breaking in waves
over cemeteries and stained glass,
spewing against walls their lusts and their names
mindless, marching through the avenues.
They stalk lone women walking, hold one
on the sidewalk, wanting
beauty—to take it
into them, to let it feed their rage
to range and capture the world, deface
what they are denied, what’s glossed against them.

KATIE CHAPLE is the author of Pretty Little Rooms (Press 53, August 2011). She teaches poetry and writing at the University of West Georgia and edits Terminus Magazine. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Antioch Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Crab Orchard Review, Passages North, Southern Humanities Review, Southern Poetry Review, Washington Square, among others.