Skip to content

The Library will open at 10:00am on Wednesday, June 26 due to staff training.

Today's Hours:
The library is open today from 9am - 9pm

Day 18: What a Waste by Jill McDonough

Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language.

What a Waste

by Jill McDonough

I tell Josey I’m going to write and publish
a poem about your breasts called “What
a Waste” and she says Don’t forget my ankles.
It’s true; her ankles are sculpted, sharp
and sleek and hollowed just where they should
be, cry out for high heels.  They’re something
out of film noir, I tell her. No, she says, they’re
a fucking Bernini. What every woman wants; ankles
and breasts like Josey’s, Josey’s perfect body
wasted in Carhartts, men’s underwear, Pendleton
shirts. I want to gnaw on her left ankle
like a chicken leg, anybody would, and don’t
get me started on her breasts. But Josey’s
delicious, compact body isn’t for us, gang:
Josey gets to do whatever she wants with hers.
What a waste, I tell her, while we laugh
at whoever would say such a thing about
someone else, another person, or her perfect
body, Josey using it to live her perfect life.

Copyright © 2018 by Jill McDonough. Used with the permission of the author. Previously published in Green Mountains Review’s (Spring 2018.)

About the Author

Author headshotJill McDonough’s books of poems include Here All Night (Alice James, 2019), Reaper (Alice James, 2017), Where You Live (Salt, 2012), and Habeas Corpus (Salt, 2008). The recipient of three Pushcart prizes and fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, NEA, NYPL, FAWC, and Stanford, her work appears in The Threepenny Review and Best American Poetry. She teaches in the MFA program at UMass-Boston and offers College Reading and Writing in Boston jails. Jill McDonough’s American Treasure comes out in 2022 with Alice James Books. Her website is


Queer Poem a Day graphic

2021 Queer Poem a Day

Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this second year of our series is the first movement, Schéhérazade, from Masques, Op. 34, by Karol Szymanowski, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission.

Deerfield Public Library

Install Deerfield Public Library

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap then “Add to Home Screen”

Accessibility Toolbar