“Intravenous” by Kailey Zitaner

I didn’t.
I haven’t.

Not in a week.
Five days.
An hour ago.

I won’t again. I promise.

Once in a red moon, I lose
a quarter cup of myself from
a place I hate and another
quarter from a place
I love

I swallow light bulbs and smell my
knuckles like knives hoping
they’ll fill up the back of my
throat with somewhere but
they leave me
instead with this repeatedly
signing his name up and
down my body like
a trick that
kind you do with
lemon juice but then
if left out in the sun too
long

I’m getting behind myself here.

It’s just that after
a while I started
to notice that everything
I wrapped around
my limbs started
disappearing in the
same way
so,
I bale time
out of my bathtub wishing for
dead nerves
with my eyes glued
shut with toothpaste still
choking through my jugular vein that maybe if
I keep cracking each rib I can
let another photon into
my chest and if
I keep snapping my neck some of this
blue-drip breaking will start
to leak out of my head down so
sigh my eyelids down and let
the somewhere fill
my skull and seep out
of each lachrymal like ink it’s
true I still
walk with my diaphragm sewn
into the pavement so I would imagine
that every time I
stick my finger in a flame that doesn’t
flicker, that fire feels
perhaps the same exhaustion that floods
soma like phlegm every time I’m told
I should never have been
born

I’d like to say that this only
happens when it’s just
me and the things
I’m trying to yank out of
my four ventricles at
night, but
sometimes when I’m the only
person in a room
the translucent noise starts to
resemble crusade but
I am an Olympian of the benthic zone

every stone I throw turns into another dove

So I had my shins broken from
the back and front because,
just like you said, there will always
be a third thing and I
guessed it
But I’ll walk
with bare toes because
in blindness I’ve painted
that sound of finding
because I’ve been
the infant across the ocean crying
take me back home
Because by now
our noses and lips bleed upward and
soaked in wind toward
a sun that may begin
to understand me better
yes, all my open paper cuts are stained
made-in-china blue
but beautiful things will
happen to me, too

Published in Penn Review Volume 46, Issue 2

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