Nothing Below the Waist by KP Kaszubowski


toddlers with their faces

blurred out or

covered by cowboy hat

will the mother keep

this up until the kid

is a man

using the initial

for his name

a short story collection

about L.


She’s crushed by the faucet.  The charring of the hand.  The flooring peeling up after run, run, run, running water over, over, over, over sink onto, to, to, to linoleum.  She rehearses the script in her head — pushing the performance date further and further out.  How young is too young to tell her son about his body.  How soon is too soon to tell him about another’s body.  She could be wrong about what perversion is.  But she is certain he will need to know if he is in danger when he is in danger.  She rehearses in her head what he will need to know about perversion.  Not too long ago, beautiful things were perverse.  Not too long ago, beautiful bodies were perverse.  Beautiful bodies, things.


She is protect.

She writes to the saints to let her in the backdoor.

She neglected the pilling.

She pulls the thread out the side of her waist.

She is an unchecked box.

Did anyone else freak out when the adult turned the book around to show us the pictures?  I remember bracing myself for the loudness, the other kids surrounding me legs folded under each other, screaming: the push-loud in both of my ears: I had to close my eyes.  I missed the picture just as the teacher turned the book back around to read some more.  The quiet throb.


She welcomes the little dangers.  Each a drip to satisfy the danger brain.  Each a drip the weight of which adds to the whole.  And the whole, if danger kept to one burst, would mean much more to the soul, the body.  The boy ruin.  Each danger drip the promise.  No one shall be harmed if the taste of blood remains around the teeth.  And nothing below the waist.

About the Author

KP Kaszubowski (she/her/hers) is a poet, playwright, and filmmaker based out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Spokane, Washington where she is an MFA candidate at the Eastern Washington University creative writing program. Recent publications and projects include the poetry collection “somnieeee” (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press, 2019), “Ringolevio” (Feature Film, 2020), and collaborative chapbook DUET DUET III (pitymilk press, 2018).

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