My hands are broken pretzels so I can’t
hold you the right way. Your skin squid-like,
mine has been touched too many times. Love me
like we’re in a young adult novel. I hoard delight,
brunettes, gazelles, excess, Bud Light, insects.
We’ll marry in this sacred arcade. The flicker
of these fluorescents delays my constant panic
attacks. The figments; figures they propel
me back decades. I recall guzzling
perfumes, champagne, fondue, ammonia.
Right now I am careening beneath swells
of swallows. Yanking my hairs one by one.
I pray for drought. I’m sick of all this wet.
I’m sick of all this turmoil. I suffer
from hormonal acne. I lie. I refuse
to fellate anyone. Before our vows I will adorn
my body with gems, with snakes, with eggs.
Adorn yours with hives, with kings, with soil.
We’ll honeymoon in a strip mall. We’ll grow
a house from scratch. We’ll have six kids
all named Dick. Forgive my failings, my cruelties,
the spider in my throats. Just so you know
I apologize in advance. For leaving you
in nine years’ time.

Phoebe VanDusen (she/her) is a 22-year-old poet, actor, and bookseller from Brooklyn, NY. She graduated from Bennington College in 2019 with a BA in Literature and Drama. She loves cured meat.

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