Two Poems by Isabella Barricklow

Speak

by Isabella Barricklow

 

There is a word for the exact moment that you are suddenly very aware of your own heartbeat.

It sounds like the syncopated syllables of bare feet on sidewalk,

rain falling on piles of brown leaves

in November.

 

There is no word for caring intensely about the molecular makeup of the ground in front of you.

 

There is a word for the hypothetical conversations that you play out in your head.

All the things you would say to your legs if they would listen:

Why are you so pale?

What is the point of running

if you’re not going to get any thinner?

How do we make each other

beautiful?

 

There is no word for loss.

 

There is a word for the feeling of frustration that you can only inhabit one place at a time.

You have to be in the kitchen

or out of it,

you can only put out one fire at once

but you have enough water

to turn them all to piles of smoking char.

 

There is a word for the feeling of being inside during a thunderstorm.

You think you might know it, but even when

you are pressed into bodies so sweaty

that their beads of salt sting your eyes,

there is no one to ask,

you are still

alone.

 

There is no word for you. But they choose one anyway.

 

 

where i’m from

by Isabella Barricklow

 

it doesn’t ever

rain.

 

the only coffee brand is called “thunder”

and we sprinkle the grounds

on our morning

grapefruit halves.

 

where i’m from, all our pants

are spandex

or leather leggings.

 

our favorite color is red

 

like the reflection of a wolf’s eyes at night.

 

we don’t let anyone call us baby.

 

where i’m from there is no wine,

only whiskey.

we collect the bottles and throw them

at our windows,

enjoy the spiderweb splatter.

the glass can’t protest,

is compelled to

destroy itself

 

every time.

 

where i’m from we have knives

tattooed on our shoulders,

one

for every time

we’ve bled out.

 

we light fires by squeezing

our fists and

fry eggs

in our palms.

 

i collect the egg shells.

 

in this world they are illegal fractures,

fragile pieces

that no longer fit.

 

i keep them hidden

in my pillowcase

 

next to a brown-edged peony petal

and a bluebird’s cobalt feather.

 


Isabella Barricklow is an undergraduate student at Central Michigan University who loves all things Spanish, social justice, and dark-chocolate flavored. She has been published before in The Central Review.

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Author: The Slag Review

A quarterly print and online lit mag

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