This is why you will have to lie
on the bathroom floor a while
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
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
MiC Columnist Claire Gallagher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.