THE BULIMIC AS HER MOUTH
In order to understand bulimia
as a body made from mouths — mouths which
clamp and lock, click to enclose, but cannot hold —
you must first register
as an emotional state
as the thing that attacks the middle
so neither the top nor bottom
We are either smothered or we
must watch the world sputter, upside down.
Your sister’s mouth is sacred,
un-picked berry teeth and peach skin tongue;
You did not know she was the same as you.
What is not the same as you is sacred.
You did not know you were praying
to your own spillage, to that same shame,
to forgetting to ask if she was
Your mother remembers when the sky
was teeth, too. She tells us,
as hanging jaws leak a guestbook of our ancestry,
those who only stayed long enough to be turned into a warning,
swinging mobiles of open mouths meant
as comfort, meant as “we see these everywhere
we go, too.” To understand this,
you must crawl into the space where your
teeth were pulled from their beds, ripped
from un-torn sheets, crawl from the stories we told
in place of asking how they learned
to be quiet, so well. How did we not ask,
after all that time,
what was behind that closed mouth?
You must open up where the stench of
losing cannot be scraped clean.
This is your mother’s mouth, and your
sister’s quiet, all in knots.
You must think the ricketting
behind your eyes and inside the cavern of your throat
you are watching, and swallowing, and loud-ing
until it can walk for itself.
TO THE WOMEN OF ROANOKE
I find myself missing you so bad some nights
I fashion your names into living, open sores
on my headboard.
The wood aches with the creaking wound of you.
I, too, went gone some night. I, too, left behind the
torches which could have showed those who
would not look, the way to me.
I, too, wonder if I am missed.
When they bled you into non-memory, into
that place where no one knows, you became our
Sisters. We, too, wandered off in the night
were taken, maybe,
had learned to be extinguished so well
that when they came, they could no longer
see us, maybe…
We, too, were given a history, and a lifetime,
based only on a word. Carved it someplace
where wood could not feel it.
Skin burned permanent, we, too, are
covered in markers of where we’ve gone or
where we’ve lost or
the names of the women we reach for.
We know the wetness of waiting mouths, the
un-fed eyes and how teeth are more than just teeth
when the bone of a word is placed
in their palms.
I imagine you miss having a name, too.
I imagine when you went into that wood,
the skin of it ate you,
just as it did me.
WHAT I KNOW ABOUT FRUIT ROLL UPS ON CAR SEATS IN SUMMER
I like the color red best
It is sweet
It is strawberries
Is not opened up skin,
I know Texas summers bleed,
I know the slick backs of my baseboard thighs
will sting when I peel them from the leather.
some things don’t want me to go away,
so they make it hurt to leave.
I cannot stay too long
or it will hurt to leave,
be my fault, I wore the shorts
that make me—
I don’t know—
I am susceptible.
walking home is a trigger.
sometimes people want metaphors
in place of shaking bodies, so
walking home is a trigger
on an un-held, loaded killing thing.
it is pulled.
I cannot tell people walking home is a trigger
without telling them the trigger
belongs to a gun.
the trigger belongs to the tooth
of a six year old girl
in a Texas summer car.
before I learned walking alone could kill me
taffy was just taffy and
melting into the sidewalk my skin
were only nuisance
belong to a gun,
the hole it makes.
that is what you get,
when you do not leave
the thing that melts
to make itself nothing
under the hot summer swell,
when you try to save
what is meant to slip through
the cracks, make itself
smaller under the sun,
they want to hear you say
it is better
to melt in quiet, to stick to the seat
than to talk of the way
Emma Bleker is a 21 year old writer currently working for her English degree in Virginia. She has previously been published, or is forthcoming in Electric Cereal, Persephone’s Daughters, Skylark Review, Rising Phoenix Press, and Cahoodaloodaling, among others. She probably wants to be your friend.