Ben Seidelman CC
IT’S THE LITTLE REBELLIONS THAT KEEP ME HERE
writing L+J on the windowsill in pink sharpie because if we ever fall apart i want us to be permanent somewhere and what better place than my bedroom window the same window that i leave open during thunderstorms simply because i was always told to shut them shut my mouth as dad shut us into the bedroom more like a prison with its lack of windows, a single twin mattress without the seemingly important or even relevant ornaments that are sheets and a blanket dad was too busy committing crimes—it sounds so simple committing crimes but what else is an 8 year old supposed to conjure up—that i wonder if the lack of freedom in his adolescence committed him to this so i relish in my rebellions i dog ear all the pages of my books because D told me i couldn’t i eat half priced candy on the floor of my room because K always said it would make me fat i keep all my stuffed animals on my bed because G told me i had to pick one at a time i listen to my vinyls on full volume because S told me i’d hurt my ears if i did that and even though countless people told me not to and warned me against it and prayed it away i kiss you because i want to
my love for you is not a rebellion
THINGS I SAY TO MY THERAPIST AT 4:59 PM
what happens if all of this doesn’t work? what happens after i’ve journaled all of my bad thoughts and yoga flowed for hours and painted really bad sunsets because i always skipped my art class in middle school and i don’t know how to mix the colors to make something beautiful and it’s such a small thing but i don’t know how to make orange and i keep mixing the red and the yellow but i always get some weird faded coral color and i don’t have the energy to face the michaels employee to get orange paint and i understand it is irrational to cry all day because i don’t have orange paint but i need orange paint for a sunset and i’ve been working on that list you told me to make of what i can do by myself but the only things i’ve written down are calling my mom and writing poetry but the poetry makes me sad and my mom is too busy and i know i’m not alone but all i know is being alone.
MORPHEUS HAUNTS ME
There’s a young girl, perhaps around the age of four. She is draped in a Disney Princess Themed nightgown, the rustic honey curls framing the too-big blue eyes and the miniscule baby teeth. She doesn’t say much, except for the phrase she continues to repeat in my ears. I try talking to her, but everytime I open my mouth my teeth disintegrate into powder and my tongue is engulfed in flames and my throat spits itself out through my neck. What is divorce? she asks. What is divorce? What is divorce? What is divorce? What is divorce? What is divorce? What is divorce?
I see a shameful teenage girl, freshly seventeen. She is always in bed, she is always naked. Though I cannot see past the sculpted collar bones, the curve under the blush sheets gives much away. The fried and straightened hair sticks up at funny angles, and she keeps her eyes shut, the wrinkles of her eyelids forming mountains and valleys beneath the treeline of her eyebrows. There is another girl beside her, flickering in and out of this picturesque dream like a fluorescent lightbulb being constantly turned on and off, on and off, on and off, on and off. The girls kiss in the darkness, yet when the light returns she has disappeared. On and off. On and off. On and off.
An eight-year old girl swallowed by a Maverick’s jersey stands before me now. I know she’s eight because she is wearing a birthday crown. Perhaps the happiest of them all, her adolescent cheeks bulge and rotate to make room for her smile, the crooked teeth jutting out between tongue and lips. She never stops laughing. While once the noise comforted and excited me, it now pierces my ear drums as easily as a heavy handed pencil makes holes in its thin paper canvas. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Despite the continuous laughter, her left hand has turned white, her grip never once loosening on the object of her desire. A hand, whiter than snow and fingernails peeling, wrapping around her legs, the wrist disappearing into ash and floating up, only to be cut by the sound of the laughter. HA. HA. HA.
Lauren Hunter (she/her) is a queer poet based in Pittsburgh, PA. Currently pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing at Chatham University, Lauren’s poetry focuses on themes of queerness, trauma, and nature. She is also the managing editor of The Fourth River.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.