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Nasty Beauty

by Marlena Chertock 


after “Like Judith Slaying Holofernes” by Paul Tran      


You nasty beauty,

you toenail-picker,


armpit scratching

beauty. Farting loudly

alone in your bed,

you don’t even realize

the sound your burps make,

anymore. Your sweat

shines like a thousand

potato bugs glistening

when you turn over a rock.

Marlena Chertock (she/her) has two books of poetry, Crumb-sized: Poems (Unnamed Press) and On that one-way trip to Mars (Bottlecap Press). She uses her skeletal dysplasia as a bridge to scientific poetry. A queer, disabled poet, Marlena serves as Co-Chair of OutWrite, Washington, D.C.’s annual LGBTQ literary festival, and on the Board of Split This Rock, a nonprofit that cultivates poetry that bears witness to injustice and provokes social change. A 2020 Pushcart Prize nominee, her poetry and prose has appeared in Breath & Shadow, The Deaf Poets Society, Paper Darts, Rogue Agent, Wordgathering, and more. Find her at and on Instagram  @mchertock.

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