To whom do I confess
poetry by Alexandra Corinth
To whom do I confess evolution?
I am seven and I smash a chicken's egg on the landing, sick fantasy on concrete, but when he does not even have to change his shoes, I muse on the boundaries I was born with from a plastic prison.
I am eighteen and I want all the nerves in my legs blunted with a pair of scissors, kitchen knife, razor blade I keep next to the peroxide, scars on my thighs forever.
I am eleven and I know I am the one to go, and sometimes there is peace in bearing private truths.
I am thirteen and the teacher asks us to close our eyes while he paints with his teeth. He whispers words that give new names to the rooms in my house. Nobody else can see them, but I feel every one with the thump of my heart beat, the pressure eroding my sternum.
I am fifteen and I realize that every school counselor who has ever known me has expressed concern for my body.
I am eight and a woman behind a glass desk asks me to tell her what I see. I tell her stories about my favorite doll and the ravines we explore while I sleep. She asks about my house. I describe the walls and the doors and the names on the doors.
I am fifteen and this time, I refuse to show her where I carry the blueprints of home in my skin. She gives me too much power, and I wield it against my better interests, afraid of the stain of industrial hand sanitizer.
I am seventeen and only buying myself time. Those empty hallways and free cigarettes and shoes without laces will call for me eventually. I won’t be able to say no when all my sleeves are peppered with red confetti.
I am almost nineteen and almost dead enough.
I am nine and staring into the eye of a storm, begging my mouth to stop crying. I pray to the toothpaste on my tongue, please erase this memory from my arms, amen. Will I ever feel safe again? Do you really want to know the answer to that question?
I am twenty-nine. I never thought I’d live this long, but some days I wake up and the anticipation in my belly is butterflies instead of push-pins, beautiful pulsing wings for all the beautiful pulsing moments waiting for me.
poetry by Alexandra Corinth
he asks if this is an intervention
swallowing a smoldering nicotine cloud
and I can’t answer
lips chapped and cracked by the cold
with a smokestack plume of exhale
he shrugs, says he probably needed one
an hour into the drive
he speaks again
neither my husband nor I
can hear him over
the 90s hip-hop playlist
he curated for this trip down I-35
thank you for saving me, he says
and turns the music up
louder than before
once we’re home
he crashes on the couch
my noise-cancelling headphones
carving wrinkles into the pillow
around his head
in the dark
they resemble a halo
I sit on the floor beside him
watching his chest rise and fall
counting every breath