the sky is eating itself whole—you are sixteen
and you are sure you made it happen. the boy
at your neck is a stranger, and your mother
might not like you all that much. you swallow
everything that touches your lips, gag like
it is an art form. never flinch, not even at vodka,
not even at hands where you don’t want them.
you hope this is a footprint in sand, you hope
for a tide; you read ten pages of bible before
bed, hoping to stop bad things from happening
though you know you already happened.
washing him out of your hair at the sink,
you must feel bluer skies are coming:
storms to spend in arms you cling to, dawns
to not sleep through hungover. you must know
you will sit in a breeze soon, covered in sugar
with poppy-stained fingers and thighs pressed
to yours, you must expect to want to live
eventually. so you put matches between
your ribs, dare god to finish what he started,
watch your mother cry, ignite over and over.
forget you are not a firecracker, forget
that when you go off, you will also bleed
marta špoljar (she/her/hers) is a lesbian from Zagreb, Croatia and enjoys failing her country daily by insisting on writing in English. she is over two years sober! she has a cat that thinks everything that moves is a toy designed specifically for her, which makes painting with her in the room extremely difficult. marta’s poetry has previously appeared in Anti-Heroin Chic, Pollux, Journal of Erato, Black Cat Magazine (who also gave me a Best of Net nom!), Not Deer Magazine and Tealight.