By Elizabeth Hazen


Rhyme relies on repetition: pink drink,
big wig, tramp stamp, rank skank. Alliteration

too: Peter Piper’s pickled peppers, silly
Sally’s sheep – silly trumping smart because

the lls create consonance. Assonance
repeats vowel sounds: hot bod, dumb slut, frigid bitch.

Even his line — “Girl, we’ll have a fine time”—
or her refusals — “No! Don’t!” In metaphor

we compare two things. Suppose a man calls
a woman fox; we understand this is

not literal. Same goes for pig, dog, chick.
Same goes for octopus, as in, “His hands

were all over me.” Metonymy relies
on association: suits, skirts, that joke

about the dishwasher –If it stops working,
slap the bitch! Synecdoche reduces

a thing to a single part: he wants pussy,
by which we must infer he wants a woman.

We’ve been called so many things that we are not,
we startle at the sound of our own names.

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ELIZABETH HAZEN is a poet and essayist whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in Best American Poetry, American Literary Review, Shenandoah, Southwest Review, The Threepenny Review, The Normal School, and other journals. Her first book, Chaos Theories, was published in 2016. Her second book, Girls Like Us, is out now. She lives in Baltimore.

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