by Vanessa Willoughby
I stopped feeling happy
when I started counting the bruises
love taps straight to the brain like
a clean line of poppy tears.
I woke up rattled in sheets stiff with last night’s
sweat caressing my skin like liquid latex,
opened my mouth and waited to die
like a drowning rat in a waterlogged lifeboat.
I am rootless and my branches are swords.
I am ruthless and my words are proof positive of
this spring is a cruel mistress who favors
ice baths like public lashings
and muted skylines, ground
that crackles beneath your feet.
I am terrified of everything that came before
and everything that will follow.
when i think of you
I picture your stupid mouth
and how you ate me
out of shame, out of hearth and home
(I think you wanted to turn a bright-eyed bambigirl into stone.)
let the record repeat
so I can pretend
there isn’t a hole in my head.
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