Shot for Shot

Shot for Shot
     for Betty Draper

by Betsy Housten

The man at the agency says I look like Grace Kelly.
In my garden, I like to wear white sunglasses,
coral lipstick, polka dot gloves to handle the roses
while the children play with our golden retriever. 

My analyst thinks I'm angry at my mother.
This is the first thing he's said since I began lying
on his black leather couch. He's got it the wrong way
around; I miss her. She only wanted me to be beautiful. 

You call me an angel, say you'd have given anything
to have had a mother like me. When we met
I was modeling a fox-coat I didn't like to give back.
Now I have everything. You've made sure of it, 

your late nights at the office for my dream house
on Bullet Park Road. In the city, the man at the agency
shows me what to do. I step into an ivory dress
with pastel flowers, eggshell headband, cream pearls. 

For hours I watch cameras flash from the picnic blanket
where I pose with a hired husband and daughter,
two Coca Cola bottles in my hands. The lights
are bright as Manhattan. My grin is real. At home 

you say the pot roast never tasted better. The next day,
I am told the ad is canceled. I paste the other smile
on my face, pretending at grace. It's only a job,
I admonish myself. When our five-year-old wakes us 

with a nightmare about the neighbor, who threatened
to shoot our dog after it caught one of his pigeons,
I imagine it staining his hands red, hold my girl
as she cries. In the morning I make pancakes 

in my nightgown — no makeup, cigarette dangling
from my mouth — pour glasses of juice, fold napkins,
then open the door and aim your rifle at the birds,
bang, bang, all eight of them, and keep firing.


Betsy Housten is a Pushcart-nominated queer writer and massage therapist. Her work appears or is forthcoming at the Academy of American Poets, Bone & Ink Press, Cotton Xenomorph, Glassworks Magazine, Longleaf Review and elsewhere. She lives in New Orleans, where she is pursuing her MFA in poetry. Find her on Twitter @popcorngoblin.