May 29, 2024 Poetry


Childhood Artwork by Nerys Schmetterling

I lived in a town where starving girls weaved 
Paper chains from heartstrings and gum wrappers, 
Staving off reality with cheap spirits coaxed from older lovers 
I lived in a town where at sundown terrified youths prayed 
To the Virgin Mary in a pearlescent haze, begging for liberation 
From their own sick flesh, down on two bruised knees 
I lived in a town where sedated daughters clustered 
In car parks and empty lots, sharing secrets and rolling joints 
With brittle fingers, collapsing into puddles and sunbathing 
On stranger’s greased car roofs, nonchalant. 

I lived in a town where deteriorating students weaved
Dandelions into the creases of each other's peroxide hair 
Then seared whole constellations onto freckled skin with cigarettes. 
I lived in a town where diseased adolescents shared 
Underwear, perfume and syringes, painted their angular faces 
In shopping mall bathrooms, spoke the same disjointed language.
I lived in a town where frail and garish pretenders wore
Tiaras with corsets and suspenders, wasting away on cherry cough syrup, 
And tinned pineapple, trying not to shatter completely 
I lived in a town where broken sisters carved 
Jagged crowns into thighs with rusted razor blades,
Or traced stars onto stomachs with imploded bottles. 

I lived in a town where silken fairies crawled
Back home with cheek scraped away to expose sinew and bone, 
Blood warm on the pavement, rows of pearly teeth trembling 
I lived in a town where reclining blondes recited 
Bible passages on flaking rooftops, blowing smoke rings 
And dribbled glistening strands of spit onto communion wafers 
I lived in a town where wilted daisies floating on scum 
Kissed in ladybird patterns, slender mouths catching on 
Rusted nails and drill heads, on glossy gun barrels 
I lived in a town where gorgeous drifters 
Crash stolen cars on silent backroads then staggered 
Into cemeteries hollering ubiquitous lyrics, numbed