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Symptom 13: Mania

Avery James

I am a walking mouth,

wide and clove-lipped.

It’s why I’m awed at

on noon-light highways.

My words are silver

threads rivuleting the stuff

of mystics.

This city thrums through me.

Its stagnant tremble.

We writhe in a fixed state.

Feigning stillness.

A lovely undoing in our bones.

I can feel my beauty

squirming from my pores.

My heart pounds rust

in coppery leaves.

My body aches

with peril.

Left the flat two days ago.

My feet pulp to bruises.

My cell gathers salt and shit in the Hudson.

I know I look like

one of the cream-smooth girls

with collarbones scooped to cavern,

to wine glass hollow. Those

lemon-eyed wisps, poised


Meds chemically-lace me to complacence.

Made a game of melting their skins on my tongue,

spitting them like pomegranate seeds,

scraping dry stars across the bush leaves below.

I’m turned on by the taste

of the unhurried death:

gasoline tint air

on a 95-hazed freeway,

a snatched kiss

from the triple-shift waitress.

The sublingual fizz

of an unlabeled pill,

acrid, alkaline.

People always stop me when I get like this.

Can’t handle a good fucking time.

Till then,

I highlight my nails

to nicotine stain.

Fuck a strain-

smiled danger

on the black mold wall

of a gas station stall.

They are coming

They are coming

I am the greatest

version of myself. 

Fall, 2018 Issue

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