Self Portrait with a Lit Cigarette

poetry by Crystal Stone

Self Portrait with a Lit Cigarette 

A chipmunk made his home
under the front step. I shaved
my legs with a rusty razor
and made cornbeef hash
for breakfast. My brother is getting
married. My sister is finally
home. Here I am alone
wondering if the chipmunk
prefers Bach or Tchaikovsky,
why skin can’t rust, if sex
is ever worth love, which trees
the chipmunks stole the walnuts
from. I am not deceived.
I know he does not need me.
But I kept trash bags by the opening
before I knew he was there. Always
burying life beneath everything
we’ve wasted. So much we throw
away. So many doors closed up.

Poem with Avoidant-Borderline Personality Disorder

poetry by Crystal Stone

Poem with Avoidant-Borderline Personality Disorder

Every text starts like a poem
that stops at send. There is a man
with an abominable snowman hat
in the hallway shouting. A poet says
every story has a word and I get
younger and young, shrinking.
The first time the therapist told me,
Of course you love your mother.
I never went back. Of course I didn’t.
The first time I heard a bone break
it sounded like the roller rink.
like landing wheels and a woman’s
shrill scream. But it wasn’t mine.
That early chaos. That early ending.

I don’t know what it feels like to care
for anything without losing

the night. The cat who let himself in
was not a stray. The woman in heels
limps because one of them breaks.
It’s been years since I used any.
I hang red pumps next to a forest
tapestry, pretend stillness counts as art.

Crystal's poetry has previously appeared or is forthcoming in The Threepenny Review, The Hopkins Review, Drunk Monkeys, Southword and others. She is currently an MFA candidate at Iowa State University and former poetry editor of Flyway: Journal of Writing and Environment. She gave a TEDx talk in April 2018 and her first collection of poetry, Knock-Off Monarch (Dawn Valley Press 2018), is available on Amazon.

Crystal Stone

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