about the author

Gina Vaynshteyn’s work has been published or is forthcoming in [PANK], Treehouse, Milksugar, The Legendary, The Rumpus, and L.A. Review. She is currently Poetry International’s social media coordinator and associate editor, where she works under poet Ilya Kaminsky.

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What Happens When a Midwestern Girl
Moves to San Diego

Gina Vaynshteyn

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When eating scrambled eggs, she squirts Tapatio
into her ketchup. She fantasizes about men standing
in the thick of a cornfield, shirtless. It’s the mythologized
sweat she wants to drink at night, but it’s the locals

who measure the diameter of her breasts with their
hands, cupped with cocky earnest. She visits state
beaches and tries to plough sand, basking naked
from the waist up, like a country mermaid.

When she can’t sleep, she drinks warm whole
milk, watches cartoons and masturbates, doesn’t
stop at the commercials and climaxes when
she thinks of the thousand lakes yearning to freeze.

Often, she connects the freckles on her arms
With black ink, creates constellations that look
like wolves, napping.

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