Call me Ishmael, my professor read aloud and I looked
over his shoulder, out the window at a young man who looked
good enough to take to bed. I was like that in those days,
and didn’t care about the men I slept with or remember
whether I read a single play in the Shakespeare class
I also took that summer. I thought my Melville professor
had a speech impediment and struggled to understand him.
Moby Dick was filled with too many chapters that asked
questions but never answered them. I was strident, impatient,
and never in love with anyone. Mysteries were secrets
I didn’t like and I told my lovers to live with it or quit
calling; Call me Michael, Scott, Ian, Tom, John they said
until I used them up then cast them aside
like the unwanted parts of a whale’s carcass,
like Desdemona and Ophelia, who I remember well.
Originally from Boulder, Colorado, Kris Whorton lives in Chattanooga where she teaches writing at the University of Tennessee and Hamilton County Jail; she also teaches teens, adults, and mental health members in the community. Her fiction has been published in Driftwood Press, Scarlet Leaf Review, and elsewhere; her poetry will appear in The Greensboro Review #109 and has appeared in American Muse, Facets-magazine, and Pinball Publishing. Her Creative Non-Fiction has been anthologized.