and one day, it just showed up, like an abandoned
bundle on my doorstep. Honestly, I don’t know how
it found me again. The last night we spent together,
I lured it away with a trail of breadcrumbs, a necklace
it swallowed one diamond at a time—such a hungry,
little bloodhound. I led it deep into the forest, fastened
its legs together with twine. Dug a hole. Said I will jump
if you jump and it did just like I knew it would. When I left,
it did not call out. This was your last gift for me.
And now, here it is again, lying on its back—its pink
underbelly exposed—and I cannot say I didn’t want this
to happen, that I haven’t been waiting by the window.
I have sculpted your body from the dust on the doorknob.
I hoarded your name in my mouth for months.
I’ve been saving so many words just for you.
My throat is a beehive pitched into the river. Look!
Look how long my love can hold its breath.
Today, I wore a bright yellow blouse to work, a grey knee-length skirt, flats,
A beige bra, and cotton underwear. I didn’t shower and wore the shadow
Of last night’s makeup, and one gold bracelet. My 40 minute commute
Involves one or two public buses and walking on sidewalks. This morning,
I was catcalled four times before I unlocked my office; six times on the way
Home. I want to be a woman who is afraid of nothing.
My sister was sad today, the kind that runs thick in our family, so I met her at
The movie theatre after work—a new vampire flick. It was more romantic than
Scary but perhaps that’s because I only unlock myself in the dark. Perhaps
That’s because I am starving for power. Like blood, I know I have it in me but
Sometimes they don’t see it. The lead Vampiress walks the streets of Tangier
In white. No one fucks with a woman with fangs. No one whistles at a wolf.
- Sierra DeMulder
Repeat after me:
I am not a problem
to be solved. Repeat after me:
I am worthy I am worthy I am
neither the mistake nor
The sun is setting on our eyelids, so listen to the cadence above my ribcage
something wicked lies here. dormant.
beating the shit out of my insides just to remind me that it’s there.
I am a werewolf.
I walk into the daylight with scratches that came from the darkness of my pores
but I swear, I never wanted to die.
I was 14 years old, barely breasted this thin wrist kiss to kitchen knife on my yellow bedspread with white flowers, no red flowers, no blood,
because it was just a kitchen knife
and I was just seeing how thick the stubborn skin was.
the second was a lady’s razor
the third was an exacto-knife
the fourth was a box cutter, which to this day I still have- it is rusted.
Like Ofelia I am attracted to water,
blue handle, red blade,
I have thrown it away twice.
Sent its demons to slice its shadows
waiting until I missed it –the rip- I missed it.
Most people see box cutters and think airplanes, think failed security, think rectangles and pentagons.
Me? I just see red lines like lipstick.
more addictive than cocaine; This is dependence.
Stripped of pipes and filters I am captivated by straight strokes and sharp edges.
My father has been dry for fourteen years, and he tells me,
“An alcoholic is always an alcoholic, and sober is just another word for thirsty.”
my hands are too thirsty to admit on paper the last time I etched regret into my leg because the blade is still in me, this sickness is still in me,
and everyday it calls to me to open up and let it breathe.
I have felt it dancing like the devil in the belt felt metal kissing tissue
howled temptation into my scars when the moon was blackened out
carved “I am better than this” on the inside of my thighs and in the morning the scabs just read “Weakness.”
My own fingers are abusive.
So shoot me with a silver bullet,
hold my hands away from their victim.
I do not have layers of eyeliner and teen angst.
I am not a little girl just looking to get looked at.
I do not walk down the street, or across it. I just live there.
This is like breathing in pine pitch.
It’s like the shower water is gasoline and you’re playing with matches.
It’s like looking through a stack of needles for a piece of daylight.
It’s like saying it’s a rusty nail, saying it’s barbed wire, saying it’s a cat scratch-
it’s telling your mother it was an accident.
It’s not doing the one thing you want to when you know it only hurts yourself, so why the hell not?
When all you want to do is break like bones, and go into the drawer that isn’t ever opened anymore.
I am not looking for pity. I have baskets full.
I am not looking for attention, there is a reason you don’t see many scars.
I think it’s sick that this remedy requires something to be broken
veins enclosed with red fencing.
I do not believe the band-aids are healing.
They are just another layer.
This is just another way of feeling
When he sleeps,
the snoring does not bother me:
the rhythmic growl, gravel shoved
across the sidewalk of his throat.
It is the grasping, desperate way
in which he takes in air - his gulping lungs
as if every dream is filled with water
and he is trying to inflate
the life jacket under his skin.
I babble in my sleep. He believes
I am trying to tell him how my heart works,
says he will translate the manual one day.
I want to ask him: am I the ocean?
Are you drowning in everything
I don’t say when I’m awake?
I caught you once,
killing a squirrel in our back yard with a rock.
Your 8-year-old body shivering, illuminated.
Through tears, you told me you loved it.
I assumed you meant the squirrel.
Even after I watched the news—
clips of a 10 gallon blue vat being carried out of your building,
your refrigerator sealed with police tape,
pictures of the boys you kissed too hard.
Even after I heard what they found in your refrigerator,
(two human heads and a heart in your freezer)
I could not bring myself to call you a monster.
Your father told the reporters
when I was pregnant with you, I experienced seizure-like fits,
foaming at the mouth. My swollen body would stiffen and
and my eyes would peel back like paint
as if I were trying to look at you.
The day your apartment building was gutted and paved over,
I began to obsess over your baby pictures, looking for anything
that could predict the way you learned to love seeing things inside out.
I held them close to my face as if some of the innocence could rub off.
Your brother legally changed his last name from Dahmer,
but I cannot erase the stretch marks. I still see your eyes in my mirror.
The scar where they pulled you like Persephone from my stomach.
There is no reminiscing here.
No one wants to hear how you were a wonderful child.
They only want to watch your car crash of a life on repeat.
Your adolescent obsession with road kill—
how you would bike for miles with a garbage bag filled with
whatever cadavers you found on the street.
How could I possibly not see this coming, they say.
Did I squeeze you too tightly when we crossed the street?
Child, when your father and I fought at night, did you mistake it for lovemaking?
Did I teach those fingers to pluck families apart like flower petals?
(I love you, I love you still.)
Darling, was it the sound of the dead dog’s bones as your father
dropped them one by one into the bucket that seduced you?
Did it sound too much like your pulse?
Was it the day I drove away from you—
freshly graduated from high school,
2 months premature of your first murder.
Did I put too many states between us?
Did you put your own heart in the freezer,
next to the thought of me?
Would Mary be forsaken if Jesus had not grown
to be the son god had intended to father?
If he did not wear a crown of thorns
but instead, wrapped it around his knuckles.
Will I be forgiven for the sins I did not commit, but created?
When you were small, i told you
you can grow up to be anything
By: Sierra DeMulder