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Teargas

It’s a condition I have. I don’t mind
talking about it. After a while, you find

that everyone’s got something they’re ashamed of,
and that everyone deserves the same love.

My mother died in a car accident
when I was in utero. The doctors spent

days rebuilding my face, rewiring
my insides, problems requiring

creative solutions. I knew I wasn’t like
the other boys with their leaking

eyes. When I got injured, or scared,
the room would fill up with an invisible cloud

that smelled of sulfur and jalapeño,
which would burn the mucus membranes,

causing long ropes of snot to drip and sway from everybody’s noses.
But it wasn’t as bad as everyone supposes.

You work with what you have.
You learn not to cry and to make love

a hard stone at the center of your peachy body,
so something good grows out of your rotting.
Posted 12/05/12
From a manuscript of poems called "Breakdown," wherein compound spondaic words are intentionally misinterpreted.
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