Please Feel Free to Die in the Grass

by Vanessa Willoughby

Stretched out across too many continents with my rubber bones.
Wringing out witching hour fevers
And mopping away the salt from my sweat.
Every time I step out in my skin
They wait until I can see the whites rising in their eyes
Until they get the garlic, the stake, the crucifix.
Their father’s x-ray americana vision
And dreams of a limber lolita-mouth summoning fire to their loins
Birthing a new man.

A half-formed girlthing as tender as a peach, the pit
You want to keep preserved
Like a lion hunter’s gun locked
Behind a case to induce envy and fear.
These colonial cousins can hear the gospel
When they fondle the trigger.

They think that in fire
There is a baptism like warm sugar.
With you, it was all of this and more, hospital songs weeping over loudspeakers
In a funnel while Springsteen played on the radio.
Teeth marks beneath necklaces with thin chains and clothes holding
Secrets like closed bedroom doors.

You said
More, now, again
And I strung myself out
For more now, and again for you
For you and I let you probe my brain with an ice pick
And leave behind the body.

Vanessa Willoughby is a graduate of Emerson College and The New School. Her work has been featured on The Toast, The Hairpin, Electric Cereal, The Nervous Breakdown, Thought Catalog, Words Dance, and The Huffington Post.

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