shot glass
"... brevity is the soul of wit ..."
- William Shakespeare


Holly Painter is an MFA graduate of the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. She has two forthcoming books of poetry: Excerpts From a Natural History (Night Bomb Press) and Wanderlust (Kekeno Independent Press). Spermaceti, Seepage, and Slacks come from her project Awkwords, a collection of sonnets about awkward words. Holly lives in Singapore with her partner and writes poetry for hire at

Holly Painter

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I'm really not sure what it is about
that word that makes me cringe. The dictionary
tells me that slacks were first made to outfit
the military, then became casual wear,

trousers to suit both men and women. This
is pretty much the opposite of what
I think of when I think of slacks, which is
my grandmother, who never said pants but

seemed to find endless opportunities
to say slacks. Because she was old and more
formal, I came to think of slacks as fancy
pants worn only by women who abhor

things like jeans and feminism and fun
and prefer the way things used to be done.