Natalie Hayes

psychic distance draws a line down the middle of me

i scrub my skin with salt

until the grains’ raised red lines begin to blur

into the red plaid-patterned tablecloth of childhood home.

this skin feels more familiar somehow;

i look more like myself like this

(rubbed raw and bleeding)

so lay me down, i guess.

cut to my sweat-stick back cementing itself to the hardwood

such that i am centered on the dining room floor.

i feel steely forks and spoons against my hot skin

and the ceramic base of your plate soothes my throbbing skull.

eat off or from me. put this body to good use

(as i certainly have not)

now sit me back up

and perhaps at last you will understand the weight of body

when brain is little more than an amalgamation of rocks.

my head is heavy and stagnant

and the pressed powder of prescription pill barely masquerades the cold

cobble glistening of gray matter; in the right lighting,

i look no different than before

(still gray-brained and mostly breathing)

let me sit steady in this

pattern of refusal; i store everything behind my eyes until i am absolutely

and unbearably full and then release all at once. after a long and unforgiving

six months of ignorance, i cry three times in one day.

Natalie Hayes is a double major in English (Creative Writing) and Film Studies at SUNY Geneseo. She is extremely passionate about all facets of the arts, including but not limited to film, writing, and the visual arts. She is most interested in where these forms overlap, and in engaging in them collaboratively.