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Emily Joy Oomen

Emily Joy Oomen is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. Her work has been featured in BBC, The Wall Street Journal, the Athens International Video Poetry Festival, Vice, and many other publications. She has a B.A. in English from the University of Washington and helps curate videos for Button Poetry. You can find her on Instagram @poetic_espresso.

If I Loved Myself the Way Lizzo Loves Herself 

My body would not be an apology 

Every day would be my Vogue cover 


I’d look in the mirror and smack my cellulite 

Which I’d call funfetti 


Loving myself would be as shameless 

As when I destroyed my first birthday cake


I’d plant a garden in my heart

And would be full of a sunshine symphony


When I talk to myself, 

Honey would drip off my words 


Poetry would not be a luxury 

To access within me 


I wouldn’t allow other people to 

Shatter my reflection in the mirror


My outlook on life would be 

A New York lit up skyline 


My blood would be pumped full of tangerines 

And I would feel good as hell


I’d eat pizza in my red carpet gown, offer some to the celebrity next to me, 

And smack my lips for the paparazzi 


I’d float in my bikini in the pool

And damn the sun would shine  

Glitter in My Menstrual Cup

Once upon a time, I took out my menstrual cup, and instead of blood 

there was red glitter / I had always joked that period blood is the body’s 

glitter / But I didn’t take it literally until now / I look under the stalls

and I’m not the only one / Crimson glitter covers the floor / Glitter like 

a period after-party / Glitter like my vagina is the lead singer in a 

screamo band / Glitter like oppression turned into red sugar / Glitter 

like the moon exploded / That day the Milky Way fell out of our 

vaginas / Glitter flew everywhere like it was words someone 

had been holding in the years and finally let out / The news reported on it

all day / Where was the glitter coming from? / They never found out / 

It was a silent secret that flew all around 

Puberty 2

Got coffee brewing when I wake

I half expect to find 

An answer hidden in the pot 

But I just see my tired face

Reflected back in it

It makes me think of how 

Adulthood is like coffee cooling

And a slow reality car crash all at once




It’s the year of the freshman fifteen and adult acne

Feeling like a jumbo tampon

And an old tube of chapstick 

Losing in the game of skinniness

Getting rid of my muffin top virginity

It’s a time when the scale has the gravity of God




I like to think I’m smart because NPR is my alarm

Despite the fact I snooze it every five minutes

I think wine tastes like the stench 

You smell while waiting in line at the post office 

When I was asked to bring a cheese board

I brought Kraft Singles and Ritz Crackers

I’ll never forget people’s pitiful looks 

I’m not very good at being a performative adult




My high school best friend and I 

Meet at our old coffee shop spot 

We now both live thirty minutes away from 

In opposite directions

Nowadays I see them more on social media than in person

We sit in an ellipsis

Conversation as hollow as a fake IKEA room 

This friendship has been sent to voicemail

When did they become a memory in human form? 




Growing pains look like 

Little fires of torn up bills throughout your apartment

Always feeling like you locked your keys in your car

And birth control making your nipples 

Constantly feel like they were hit with a Nerf gun 




I guess I’m special because I was asked 

To speak to students at my old high school

About college and motivation 

When I look out at them

The um of imposter syndrome clamps around my throat

And I think how I’m no different than them

I’m still filled with the same teenage girl’s roar




My new best friend and I 

Netflix and chill on the couch

Summer melts out of them 

When they fall into me

We paw at each other like 

We are trying to find the secrets of the universe

But when I wake

They are gone




“I don’t love u anymore” 

The text read

My heart feels like a phone playing music 

Thrown into a pool

The sound drowns 

I look up and everything is as it was 

No one felt the earthquake but me 




I’m a summer intern 

In an office with a coffee breath personality 

There’s so much grey 

A funeral so bland it couldn’t bother being black

I shred and file away

And on breaks I cry in the supply closet

Is this really it?




I look out at the view and think about how

I once lived on a diet of daydreams

But now my dreams are just ice sculptures melting

Life feels like a time punch card is floating above my head

As I try and box with time 

To complete the timeline of who I wanted to be by now

As I watch the sunset I think 

I don’t want to waste all this alive within me

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