I am living and have lost
all my skin. I’ve taken to codeine, to cariprazine,
to the rushing sound blood makes in my ear
when I press against the pillow. Sometimes, I look
at something so hard I forget how to breathe.
I leave no space for taking in. I become round, bloated with
starvation. When I was ten, I wrote Vincent’s candle poem
on pieces of post it and hid them in the rooms of places
I’d visit. I imagined suitcases of yellow bits, each marked
by the body of a chewed pen cap. God said he is
what he is because there is nothing else
worth comparing to. I am a mixed tape of that stuff
that gets left in the subway. I am pieces of cardboard,
broken glass, the half-eaten something poking out of the trash.
When I was fifteen, I kissed a boy I didn’t want
to. He smelled like plastic and brown paper bags.
He sang Hard Luck Woman when he drove and when he called my name it sounded
like something that didn’t belong to me.
This morning, I stepped out of myself long
enough to see me as two. One of us slipped off
my clothes, the other turned my flesh upside down.
I took a shower. Wrapped in a towel, I made coffee;
naked, I stood in the kitchen. There was so much
me in that room, I could barely move.
I had stacked so many versions of myself, one
on top of the other, in the freezer for safekeeping that
I had left no room for my own body, hollow and swollen.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 20, Issue 4.
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