INCOMPLETE ANATOMY OF SUMMER
Watch how I do this. Self-destruct in secret, in summer.
Turn my body over and dress its wounds before daybreak.
Girl becomes bloodstain and to herself
she leaves the sap-sweetened callouses,
their saccharine sinew. The growl surfacing
with each breath out, like a bonfire’s lungs, glowing,
but choked with ash. It’s the same every year:
three months of roaring flame. Tongue doused in chlorine.
No one’s invited to the party where the bodies,
unrecognizable, float at the surface of the pool,
a place for empty bones to soak, bathed in chemical.
Girl dissolves in the water and is left with her insides.
Girl throws herself to the dogs and is left with the mourning.
Cries herself awake somewhere new, blind in unfiltered light.
SYMPHONY OF THE EPHEMERAL SELF
I grew up obsessively listening to classical music.
My favorite pianist was Mozart, when I was young.
Hands too small to play an octave. Feet dangling below
the bench, above the floor. Sometimes, a recital. A bouquet
of flowers. An audience cheering just to be polite.
I crack my head open to see what is still there.
A little boombox with a cassette in its stomach. An old
TV replaying my memories, a slideshow of youth.
Old blood. First kiss. First fuck. The things that sit
like spectators in the back of my mind and judge.
Her crooked teeth. The sweat-filled room.
The walls so far apart I could’ve been swallowed up
by the carpet and never seen again. There is a love poem
for my first best friend. Dear red hair, I’m glad you’re still here.
More poems for the former loves crumpled into me
like tight-fisted heartbeats. I’m a collage. A mongrel
of all things. An assemblage of chewed-up lips
and bleary sunrises. I took my wings from the angels,
my teeth from the wolves, my hands
from the dirt of the garden in the backyard—
Look how they sprouted, burst into life
and fleshy tendrils, a sudden, overwhelming crescendo.
All of this memory washing over
my amalgamated body like an indiscriminate wave.
BRIANNA MORRIS is a 19-year-old aspiring poet with works published or forthcoming in Touchstone Literary Journal, Tongue Tied Mag, and The Rising Phoenix Review. She believes that poetry and laughter make life worth living.