Piñata Body and Hearing the Gunshot
Most people CUT their wrists, so they say--
And when they find me crumpled and clean
they'll be confused and so so proud-- they'll
say that I'm a good girl because I know
how to die quietly and not make a scene.
I know how to die like taxidermy. Like
the deer head mounted above your uncle’s
pool table in the basement-- her eyes still listening
for what a gunshot should look like--
perks her ears to smell her own blood
and falling like jar of marbles on the kitchen floor--
is she beautiful?
They make me hold out my wrists as proof
that there's no scores. No lacerations. No wound--
check my palms for self-stigmata
If only they knew what matches are for.
Forearms are for counting your flaws in lines.
The folds of hips make the cuts into gills.
But what they expected least was for me to lock
myself in my room and begin with paper machete--
each strip of newspaper fused ink with my flesh--
my forehead was a headline about Syria and
how many stuffed animals they lost
to matches and gasoline-- I paste the "want ads"
across my breasts so I can be flat-chested like
a good dyke-- use the comics for my forearms
because there's nothing more funny than
cutting yourself open to find candy-- used the
sports section to wrap around my waist
because that's all the boys read anyway.
I started with tootsie rolls and moved on to
root beer barrels-- one by one down my throat--
closed my eyes like a deer-- swallowed and stuffed
in my gills-- strands of licorice-- jelly-filled strawberries
bricks of crackle-chocolate and taffy and
ruptured bags of skittles like marbles on the kitchen
floor-- no one suspects a girl to be a piñata--
What a great way to die quietly
and loud at the same time
Hang yourself by tissue paper. Wait for your birthday.
Invite your friends. Bob for apples. Take up sticks
together to tear holes in the seven-sides
of yourself as a star-shaped piñata-- confetti
tasseled and ready to bleed blow-pops and
tootsie rolls. They won't know it was you.
Too busy with the candy-- they've already
checked your wrists anyway. One of them will
see the headlines on the inside of the piñata-
carcass and wonder if Syria has piñatas
or strawberry jelly candies
or if they wanted to buy an accordion from
the "want ads". They'll look up and notice
the deer head-- still waiting to see the
sound of gun shot. They'll wonder why
the candy tastes so much like milk and marbles
on a kitchen floor.
He only ever held me by my ass—
as if my hands never needed fingers—
my mouth a gaping slash
torn on my face like
a ziplock bag—ziplock
girls don’t need to talk if
they buy short-shorts.
They’re sluts you know?
All of them? Those girls in short-shorts—
only it’s okay on you because you’re my slut
and I’d hold onto my slut if her
shorts were short enough but she
wore this shorts to her knees
and if that’s her idea
of pleasure then she is 14
and love means cheerios
and hip bones
and red underwear
and wrapping paper
and wrapping paper skin
and wrapping paper skin with bows
and bows from the dollar store
and bow from last Christmas
and bows without the sticky part on the back.
they don’t teach you about how to dress for a boy in that class in middle school where they show penises on the board and where they talk about where all the blood comes from and they tell you how the only way not to get pregnant is to not have sex and that sex is one thing one way and then everyone is quiet and all the girls can’t see all the places there are bows on their body—the bows in their throats and the bows in their back pockets where he’ll hold you like a hand grenade before he unwraps you.
at least I was a good slut.
Sarah Gow is a queer, gender non-conforming poet. They are an undergraduate student at Ursinus College studying English, Creative Writing, and Spanish but poetry is their passion. They run a poetry blog and host open mic nights in the Philadelphia area.