Dorothy Chan

Centerfold of the Year | Centerfold of the Month: Rabbit Season | Centerfold of the Month: Judgment
January 12, 2015 Chan Dorothy

Centerfold of the Year


Full frontal I stand, knee-high socks and white heels,

legs crossed, as I’m barely covered—breasts popping out

his white shirt—the trace of a man that makes the shot

complete, holding a glass of milk,

hands on top of the fridge, acting out five fantasies at once:

cat, housewife, tomboy, a man’s risky business…playmate,

posing with a glass of milk: the fridge only has

four bottles of Dom, eggs, and strawberries.

It’s the full-frontal-balanced-meal-of-sex, but

why am I reaching for food? Was it not satisfying?

My curls are messed up, literally the “I got up this way”

look—tilting my head slightly, looking full frontal—the camera—

not that I’ve been caught, not that I’m getting the milk

for him, but like I’m welcoming our new neighbor.


They put the curlers back in, the vintage beauty-shop look.

They lay a fur blanket on the couch, contrasting the stone wall.

S-curve I lie, dialing the rotary phone, holding it to my ear,

and tilting the head once again, mouth,

welcoming the new neighbor—all readers are lovers—

since our husbands and boyfriends won’t come to the phone,

won’t come to bed. And from S-curve to back-curve,

the white panties lower, exposing cheeks,

the mooning that tells the reader to go away, yet pursue further—

tease: the way I grab that phone, making the cord longer,

fingering the numbers, and not letting a nip slip

for the cover, turning away from the stone wall that’s so bachelor pad,

back upright, legs stretched out—about to pounce on the fur

sheets, the white blanket, the pillows…I’m telling the reader:

“This is my bachelor pad, and you’re just living in it.”

There is no husband to come home to…because I’m both roles.”



Centerfold of the Month: Rabbit Season


I was born in the Year of the Rabbit. I knew I’d be perfect—

Hef’s eternal stag-turned-bunny party: his 2000s trapped

between gingham housewives pouring the whiskey

down their throats, down their husband’s throats,

and Penthouse Pets sucking on Caligula’s gold dick:

eager-beavers-always-willing-to-please—rabbits easy-to-tears.


But I’m told the shoot’s jungle, not hare-house:

one-piece-brown lingerie, almost cavewoman—

more like woolly mammoth, not well-mannered.

I’m offended. I’m insulted—the waxes I had to endure…

cavewoman, not Let-me-bend-over-

in-a-bunny-drop rabbit. Cavewoman…how unlady-like

the stylist cuts the negligee right down the middle,

one strap juxtaposing between breasts,

spraying my hair. I’m barefooted,

walking to the couch, the earth-tone-setup,

running into a plant: “Aren’t plastic plants

bad feng shui?”


Crotch exposed, I order a Diet Coke and vodka,

sipping as someone adds on a glass table—

the home vibe…no, the whore house of the bachelor.

“Put that glass right there,” she gestures at the vodka.

“By the table. It’ll be the trace of man we need.”

“What kind of man orders a drink like this?” I ask.

“Then, it’ll be the trace of you we’ll need,” she says.


The trace of me…spreading across the couch,

legs stretching to reach the plants like an Eve

reaching for her Adam for the first time…

reaching for her Adam for the first time.

Placing my hands behind my head like my Adam’s

reaching back for his rib,

eating me right up, the plants tickling my feet…

Don’t try too hard to look sexy.

You’ll look tough. You’ll look stupid.



Centerfold of the Month: Judgment


This shoot will break my grandfather’s heart, but at least nudes point to the old—

tradition: cherubs admiring the naked girl with white hair bow-string—

my next-door-smile brighter than the alabaster Ionic-miraculously-outdoor-

bathtub-of-bubbles—Come soak with me, because a Greek reference

suddenly makes anything “classy.” It’s the same way Las Vegas does palatial:

statues of goddesses outside gentlemen’s clubs—the Heras and Athenas,

inferiors to Aphrodite all mixed up and replica-sized—

the men, who, like Paris, need an apple to tell a difference.

Or it’s that movie: small-town-stripper transforms into goddess showgirl,

fire spouts out on stage, highlighting the cheap, gold fabric

clinging to her oiled body, as she looks up at the replica

Zeus—she’s beaten, tortured…stripped.


Put that on a Nevada postcard. No, put me on a postcard—

moms need to be reminded that good girls like sex too.

And no one wants to wear harlequin glasses…forever the sad secretary.


Like Aphrodite, I rise out of the water. But instead of an ugly husband,

I’ll be getting millions of proposals from millions of cads who read a magazine

“for the articles,” but know when to take a peep.


Like Aphrodite, I rise out of the water, white bubbles covering

the brown of my nipples, how the froth obediently stays on,

how the froth runs down my back…covers my armpits, my skinny arms

emphasized, as I do my signature-serpentine-turn,

next-door-smile rouged up. At least nudes point to tradition—

the statue behind me draping a cloth over itself,

eating grapes in my direction.

Dorothy Chan is the author of Attack of the Fifty-Foot Centerfold (Spork Press, 2018) and the chapbook Chinatown Sonnets (New Delta Review, 2017). She was a 2014 finalist for the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Academy of American Poets, The Cincinnati Review, ​The Common, Diode Poetry Journal, Quarterly West, and elsewhere. Chan is the Editor of The Southeast Review.

Chan is currently a PhD candidate in poetry at Florida State University. She received her MFA in poetry at Arizona State University and her BA in English (cum laude) with a minor in History of Art at Cornell University.