Julia Rose Merante

listen: to give attention to one’s sound

If sounds are only vibrations    how are they stuck

             inside my head &

why     are they telling me how to

                        unmake my body?

            They pulse,

warning             me to kneel & pray as though the grace

            of the world hangs from my teeth.

The vibrations tell me: my body is     condemned—

            I pretend          like I have an underbite

            to resist                            this instruction

but the voices persist—

                           my jaw aches.

I poke at my belly button        trying to feel

where I came from. I trace my collarbone

trying to understand   my slender bone structure.

I look at my hips                              and sigh


             I wish I could

                   go swimming

             in a stranger’s spit.

Julia Rose Merante is a senior English (creative writing) major at SUNY Geneseo. She studies poetry and has two minors: biology and human development. You can find her work featured in Equinox, 30 North, and Glass Mountain Literary Magazine. Next year, Julia plans to attend law school to use her communication skills in forever righting wrongs. She wants to keep telling stories, learning new words, and watching crime movies with her mom.