peeling snakeskin from sun-drenched mangos.
I, swollen and stained with the silver of ghost
blood. Bugs blister my legs, mushrooming
doggedly up the thighs like zealots. Heat
balloons on my chapped tongue; the months
drip, sweet as creamsicles and dreamfish.
There’s fruit festering in the bushes, all ripe
and harvest ready. I’m in purgatory, searching
wasted sky for the blue burn of the Dog Star
and sweeping sins. Sins: I once told my mother
to get a job during a game of war. She wept
and shuffled the cards. I steal pennies from streets
unless spoiled with the aftermath of moss rust.
All summer, steeped in weeds, I watched
the garden rot and scolded god for the monarchs
in my throat. Smoke billows lend themselves to me
like ladybirds in flight, shed all the gospel I cannot,
spin like slugs into disappeared mouth. Mother,
we’re bullet heavy as heaven cackles. Mother, I only
scar you in memoirs, and I scar you to lick up
the slick of my wounds. Mother, I regret the salt
stings and spare change I kept. Here, it’s sweet
and still enough to tell you I bled first.
Gia (she/her) is a high school student from Massachusetts. Her work can be found in the Galliard International Review, Crashtest, the Augment Review, and elsewhere. She is also a Literary Apprentice for the poetry team at BreakBread Magazine and a co-founder of Chinchilla Lit, her own literary journal. Gia still can’t ride a bike, and her favorite snack is microwave popcorn.