Battleships of Empathy: Poetry by Olivia Deborah Grayson

By Olivia Deborah Grayson


Me & Kathleen that Summer

We watched Bewitched
in the cozy cavernous

safety of your pale yellow
bedroom, & cried over

Gladys Kravitz’s role
as the laughingstock.

We were broken-hearted
over Gladys. She saw things
as they really were.

As solace, we’d gorge on mounds
of macaroni & cheese, Hostess
Snowballs, and movie-sized

boxes of Goobers, which went
right to our thighs. They were
colossal that summer, as huge

as our friendship–massive
battleships of empathy
and tenderness.

The charming bully on our block
who once punched me in the head
so hard I saw stars, called us
brick shit horses. He meant
houses. Brick shit houses.

We saw things as they really were.

Olivia Grayson creates prose and poetry that combine pop culture with autobiography in an effort to explore the often times startling experience of being part of the family of women —alternatively thrust into–or dumbly participating with–a culture that sells the promise of absolute beauty, sparkling romance, and ideal interventions; she finds herself writing from a tension that surrounds this system.

She is the author of the chapbooks Cat Lament and Being Female, and her work has appeared in BlazeVox, Boog City, Fog Machine, Grief Diaries, The Harpoon Review, and others. Olivia teaches Developmental Reading and Writing at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, and lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her two cats, Molly-Molly and Emily.

Cover image is of Gladys Kravitz in Bewitched.

One comment

  1. I can’t help but feel affection for someone who empathized with Gladys Kravitz’s dilema. In this poem, I even felt a little sorry for the bully who was so ignorant that he misused his insult. All in all, I found Olivia Deborah Grayson’s poem to be beautifully bittersweet. I came away from it saddened, but with a smile in my mind.


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