TWO POEMS BY KRISTEN GREENWOOD

ON THE FIRST DAY THAT ALL OF THIS IS OVER,

i will kiss / the first / kind stranger i find / square on their lips, / our teeth clapping together / like tumbling pebbles, / like dice / in a gambler’s hand. / i will set up a table / and chairs / in the middle of the street / and sip on scalding tea / while traffic / angrily / whips by. / i will fall asleep / at the filthy counter / of the dive bar / down the street / where old / and toothless men / with silver hair / down to their asses / reeking of smoke / or manure / or motor oil / play pool / and i will / delight / when the bartender has to shake my shoulders / to wake me. / i will sample fruit / in the middle of the produce section / of the supermarket, / citrus juice / sticking down my arms, / slurping the wet flesh, / pawing the rinds / while mothers stare. / i will crash / the first wedding / in town, / the first wedding After, / get wildly drunk / on bourbon / and dance on a table holding the bride’s hands. / i will run / into the wilderness / for however many miles / it takes to find a fox, / screaming in their shrill tongue. / i will watch / their feline eyes, / for certainly they will have forgotten / the look / and smell / and beautiful, homely vulgarity / of humanity.


TRIGGER WARNING: The next poem has themes of childhood sexual trauma and PTSD.


THE JOURNEY

1.

somewhere all is well.

2.

strange, isn’t it,

how trauma holds on

to a body,

how in one drive home

the spectral hands

of a grandfather long dead

traipse

across the seatbelt

and crawl

under my shirt,

how, all at once,

I can

smell the withering

of his deodorant

on the shelf

feel the ribbed threads

of the wife beater

sitting across his

weak chest

the gray hairs

curling over

the neckline

and how,

in a time that is

both here and not-here,

the car that I am driving

meets a force both moving

and immovable,

the front tire sinking to

the pavement,

candy red fender

cracked and caving in,

shuddering,

how my very real hands

remember being thrown

to the windshield,

splitting seams of skin,

diamonds embedded

into the wells

of my knuckles

3.

somewhere,

a girl makes love

and isn’t afraid

of who she’ll see

if she closes

her eyes.

somewhere, her

hands guide

her lover’s and

she knows

they’re his.

4.

“I know, sometimes,

it feels like this

is all that you are,

but it isn’t.”

my love

leans his head on

my shoulder

and I wet

his beard.

5.

doesn’t a body

ever grow

tired

of re-living?

doesn’t it want

to unravel

these memories

like a VHS tape,

its thin, black,

intestinal film

spilling into

a pile

at its feet?

6.

somewhere

in a theater

400 miles from my home

a man picks

at a guitar,

bellows

that I am indelible

and unbreaking,

and it fills the warm room

to its baroque, circular

ceiling

as winds off the Erie

howl outside.

I quietly weep.

7.

somewhere

may not be a place

I can reach

just yet

but somewhere

close to Appalachia

the pale

gray sky matches

the cracked road

leading me

along the snow-covered

lake

and a single shack

stands

in the golden

tall grass,

a row of upturned

and empty

kayaks

loaf on the shore

outside of its

locked door,

half submerged

in wet sand,

waiting

for summer.


Kristen Greenwood is a contributing poet and editor of the unpublishable zine, a Connecticut native, and a 25-year-old poet who dreams of becoming a witch and fleeing to a cottage in the woods with her fiancé. When a global crisis does not confine her to her apartment, she enjoys wandering through the stacks of her local library, hiking, and sipping iced coffee. When a global pandemic does confine her to her apartment, she enjoys playing an inordinate amount of Animal Crossing.