Claire Gallagher/MiC.

This is why you will have to lie 

on the bathroom floor a while

after peeling 

away layers of your skin and finding only more skin underneath.

Or maybe it’s after you realize

that whatever name your father called you,

he now asks where (baby, sweetheart, honey, princess) has gone.

I can’t remember which comes first but just know

the stepdad and the mailman and the soccer coach won’t look at you

that way once you start shaving your legs and oh god, 

sweetie please don’t cut your hair that short

because mine

won’t stop coming out in clumps in the shower.

I don’t want to die, but I’m enjoying the process of rotting,

and my pee is coming out acidic, but I’m sick

of drinking water every morning. This is a bummer,

I know — knowing that you will still

be scratchable and fuckable when you were supposed

to become the smoke from a snuffed-out candle.

I was named the youngest person to go senile today.

I think it’s because there’s someone

in your window, and he followed you

to mine, but it might be because 

I want to be a kitchen appliance

for Halloween, but not an oven

or a microwave. I know I’ll be spooky

because blood is sticking my knees together

from a sink I can’t seem to plug. 

When it starts getting hard for you

to get out of bed, I’ll know it’s time to tell you

that he’s peeking through the crack

in your closet and tomorrow he’ll be

on the rug hugging your stuffed bear. 

You will dry his feet with your hair,

hoping not to end up Mary or Madonna, but something holy


This is how you enjoy your youth.

This is when you will squeeze

your legs shut

so someone else can pry

them open. This is how you will sing

yourself to sleep at night.

This is why you will stare at the smudge

on the wall.

This is how you will chastise yourself.

This is how you will know you’re ovulating

without an app.

This is why you will speak in nouns

and not verbs.

This is why all you will ever be found

is wanting.

MiC Columnist Claire Gallagher can be reached at