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what flows thicker than water

by alyssa hanna

what flows thicker than water

today i decided i would never snort cocaine because i am already addicted

to feeling my back arch into a syrup silence, i am already pleased


by pain. giving in to ocean, clamming shut, i suck in sulfur and ask air

when it will all be over. reeling like a fishing line. acid reflux into an ice bucket.

and i am not finished. there is no finishing this, no ending

to the story that is siphoning soliloquies out of martini glasses.


i heard only one account of my father; after his one night stand with my mother

he asked if he could be my dad. when she said no, he sent a friend to sign my birth certificate instead.

my theory is he was finishing a six pack. fast forward to a blotchy man telling me

just say no. addiction runs in the blood.


i sliced my veins open to see what was trickling inside;

this is a wound i will always let fester.

on the throgs neck bridge i see a sign that says "life is worth living"

by alyssa hanna

on the throgs neck bridge i see a sign that says “life is worth living”

and i remember how easy it is to die.

the jump, fall, push, the tiny press

into the membrane covering the back

of a newborn’s head— yet i have still not

succeeded in breaking

the most fragile of organisms.

a tiger will eat her young, the bird throws

his babies from the windowsill,

but my father still pays my e-z pass bills;

will they charge him a toll and tow should i pull

into the emergency lane and cross

over? even when she eats her newborns, the mother

will still mourn.


on the bridge between bronx and brooklyn, the sign

mocks. it’s a starling screeching hope

that no one wants to hear, the language of

birds unable to be deciphered. it’s a pack

of cigarettes a day begging someone

to voice the concern of how much cancer

will cost their children. it’s

the winter that frosts veins over, pulls

bank accounts dry, pulls wine from the shelves

after seven years sober.


on the throgs neck bridge there is a sign that tells me it’s not my time to die

but i’m not sure i’m convinced. i have hammered out brass, support

beams, and i have done all but coil

up and eat myself starting tail

end, portrait of a python swallowing herself

when all other options are wasted.

all other options have legs.

all other options can breathe through their nose.


in dead traffic i open my car door;

the sign says: jump—

out of spite.


alyssa hanna

alyssa hanna graduated from Purchase College in 2016. Her poems have appeared or are upcoming in Reed Magazine, The Naugatuck River Review, Rust + Moth, Pidgeonholes, and others. She was nominated for a 2017 Pushcart Prize, a finalist in the 2017 James Wright Poetry Competition, and a semi-finalist for The Hellebore scholarship. alyssa is a Contributing Editor at Barren Magazine and an aquarium technician in Westchester, living with her four weird lizards. follow her @alyssawaking on twitter, instagram, ko-fi, and patreon.

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