A throb of red, like the wound
from a nail stuttered through a holy palm
is dissolving on my tongue
as I count each collision
between my sneaker-ed soles and the crumbling
asphalt. Losing count, starting over again.
Disciplining the body into smallness
or some distant type of order.
To reduce myself into something more.
Here I am wrapping an ace bandage around
my chest, compressing the expansion,
like cauterizing a wound. Growing inward.
Shallowing my breath. Smothering myself
at the breast of my own swollen hunger.
The body can’t defend its borders anymore.
Fevers don’t break, they bend
and I learn to live in new heat.
Here I am riddled with thrush: head full
of wet cotton and television static.
The corners of my lips cracking
like fault lines in the earth of my skull.
Twin broken oxygen tanks hiss in my chest
as my saliva becomes 15 calories
worth of medicated.
The cherry bullet, still loaded in the chamber of my mouth,
melts there like a type of communion saved only for the sick.
I eat the blister packed pearl
in my college dining hall, swallowing
it with black coffee, where it settles
gently at the bottom of the ocean of me.
Dissolving any fragments of life,
sparking like clumsy filaments
in the light bulb I carry
between my thighs.
Autumn Gerard is a New York-based, queer poet. Their work has previously been featured in Chronogram and Ursus literary magazines. They are currently studying poetry, linguistic anthropology, and environmental psychology at Sarah Lawrence College. If you’d like to keep up with their poetry, oversharing, and leftist memes you can follow them on instagram @fuckjeffbezos