we saunter through
the suburbs i wish to be reborn into,
glass rattling in our pockets & purses. she is the only one who knows i hate my mother,
yet she cares very little.
what i think of her now doesn’t matter.
under that blue evening we are
a single thing,
jangling with adrenaline
as it passes through summer-glazed yards.
it trespasses, briefly.
my shoe seizes the fence—
i dive, retrieve—
skin catches—i swear i have tetanus.
someone i swore i could love had a needle driven through their arm two weeks ago. i
waited by the phone as if they gave a damn, as if my digital affirmations would release
them from some divine bacterial will.
my own scratch is long, thin. deep as an eraser shaving. i nurse it like a bullet
hole, tear through her cabinets to find bandages for a wound that doesn’t even
i don’t drink. she does.
when i’m finally satisfied with my medical hand she’s vomiting
in the kitchen sink. it is 8 p.m. & my friends surround her like apostles.
i part the hormonal crowd. turn on the faucet.
cherry punch sinks into her mother’s carpet.
i’m kneeling with my wounded leg as i scrub.
the red spot turns to white. i’ve never been more proud.
i climb the stairs to see that someone with another.
i am not surprised.
i am sixteen, sure yet flimsy, betting on an underlying flaw
which will make sense of all this. that the talents i harbor
in notdrinking & stainremoving
will amount to a whole kind of love.
& some time later
i will realize that i did get tetanus;
it slithered through me that night, an internal leech, curving my hips into
worth loving, instilling in me the desire to be desired,
no longer craving
a whole love but the surface of it: a pool of glass under my bare feet.
they will follow me, trailing my intrigue. that someone will call me first. i will
receive enough love to fill an open wound.
Mia Donaldson is a freshman at SUNY Geneseo double majoring in English literature and political science with a minor in the Edgar Fellows program. She plans to continue her English studies into graduate school, and can typically be found around campus reading or staring wistfully into the vast Geneseo farmland. Their interests include, but are not limited to: women, anything written by Ottessa Moshfegh or Thomas Hardy, Mitski, stompy boots, and matcha lattes.