For Alan Dann

A woman came up to me in Bloomingdales and said she liked my glasses and I told her where to get them and she said, “what do you think I am — a millionaire?” and stomped off.
A woman came up to me in grad school and said she wished she was as smart as I was and I told her where to find the good theory books at the library and she said “what do you think I am — stupid or something?” and threw down her copy of Derrida’s On Grammatology and stomped off.
A woman came up to me in the airport in Montpellier and said “Ce livre — De La Grammatologie par Derrida – c’est à vous?” and I told her I had picked it up off the ground in North Carolina, and the woman said “Quoi? Vous êtes un connard Americain?” and lit a Gauloise and stomped off.
A woman came up to me in the hospital and said “this is your baby,” and I took the baby, but she said, “I can tell already you’re a terrible mother,” and threw the baby blankets at my husband and stomped off.
A woman came up to me at the swimming pool and wanted to know why my 2 year old daughter was laughing at her classmate, and I explained that she had never seen a penis before, and the woman said “DON’T USE THAT FOUL WORD IN MY PRESENCE,” threw a beach ball at my head, and stomped off.
A woman came up to me at my house and said she wondered what all these little girls were doing, drawing with chalk on the driveway, and I said they were friends of my daughter and she said “YOUR CHILDREN ARE OUT OF CONTROL,” and the girls started laughing, and they all took giant steps behind her as she stomped off.
A woman came up to me at the university and said she wondered why everyone was so mean to each other on campus, and I said “what do I look like – a therapist?”, and she said “actually, yes, you do,” and stomped off.
A woman came up to me at a shopping mall entrance, and gave me a Kleenex because I was crying into the telephone fighting with my husband, and I said “thank you” and she said “don’t mention it. I know how you feel; you just wish you could stomp off.”
A woman came up to me at the Northampton bus station, and she said she knew me from somewhere, and I said “I am your mother,” and she said “I know — I’m just kidding and being weird!” and then she laughed and pretended to stomp off.
A woman came up to me on the beach and she said she knew where all the magic stones were, and I put down my copy of Derrida, and laid out a beach blanket, and we took turns stomping off and looking for magic rocks and then bringing them back, lying on the beach, telling each other stories, while wearing each other’s sunglasses.

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Descended from Norwegian plumbers on one side, and broke bohemian Russian aristocrats on the other, STEPHANIE BARBÉ HAMMER has published short fiction, nonfiction and poetry in The Bellevue Literary Review, CRATE, Pearl, East Jasmine Review, Apeiron, and the Hayden’s Ferry Review among other places. Stephanie’s prose poem chapbook Sex with Buildings appeared with Dancing Girl Press in 2012. Her 2014 collection, How Formal? is available from Spout Hill Press. Her first novel The Puppet Turners of Narrow Interior is forthcoming from Urban Farmhouse Press. A sometime performer, Stephanie can be glimpsed on the margins of Erika Suderburg’s feature-length film Somatography, as well as in her own short videos for writers starring her heteronyms: German organizational expert Mitzi Notnagel and her associate, polyamorous anarchist culture commentatrix Simone Baumbaumsziegfieldstravinskyshalom (neé Stein). An almost completely recovered career academic, Stephanie teaches at conferences and writers associations and divides her time between Coupeville and Los Angeles with her husband Larry Behrendt. She is a 4-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize.

2 responses to “Woman to Woman”

  1. Nancey says:

    This was wonderful!

  2. Ana says:

    Simply great. I really liked it.

    *stomped off

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