Swallowing Secrets

The only thing she’s been swallowing is secrets,
And she’s been living off them for days.
But of course, she’s only taking half the serving;
Measuring the ounces in palms of her hands,
popping open another 0 cal Diet Coke can.
Blonde is turning brittle,
trails falling out every time her boyfriend runs fingers through her hair.
He kisses her harder than her lips have strength,
Hoping he can breathe his love into her lungs,
That it’ll be enough for her to survive on;
it’ll be enough for her to stay.
The mirrors hanging in the bathroom are shattered.
She’s arranging them in stain glass,
because anyone could look angelic when their faces are broken color.
Her father’s talked himself through this the night before,
swearing he’ll speak up,
promising to pump the life back into her
even if it takes the coils of an IV drip.
But, in the morning, the dead are walking,
And the moment her doorknob knees greet the kitchen,
His voice is vacant, is as empty as her belly—
there’s not a word left his soul could muster.
What do you say when you’re speaking to the grave?
There are caves with more wind in their bellies than in the organs in her system.
I want to open her eyes like blinds on the window,
Hey, are you listening?
You
Are so. Beautiful.
Right now.
And not with the fish swimming in her collarbones,
Confusing them for ponds.
Not with her ribs rung like ladders,
Climbing to a hardly-there heart beat.
But the beauty of everything that can’t whither away,
her life sounds stronger than 98 pounds.
Her bones are no more beautiful than the skeletons
sleeping six feet under.
Sucking the life out of her skin doesn’t make her any more lovely.
And whether there’s some lover that doesn’t see the way
her shoulders drip under the 3 AM moonlight,
Or it’s her mother, rattling her branches like hurricane winds,
Or if it’s herself. Spooning this sickness onto her lips,
believing a little more will make her better;
a little less will be worth it,
more and more and less and nothing.
She is shrinking into the corners of the room,
fading into the pale white wallpaper.
And I know, I want to tell her,
I want to whisper when she’s dreams of falling at night,
That I know she’s trying to make her reflection match her mind.
She’s dressing her body in the disaster her head has tailored.
But in swallowing secrets, she’s only ripping the seems;
And I want to let my steady hands weave stitches where she’s unraveled,
But I will let her hold the needle.

Schuyler Peck

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About Ijagun Poetry Journal

Ijagun Poetry Journal is a quarterly journal that provides a platform from which we can tell our own stories in the authenticity of their multiplicity through the poetic medium. We don’t want to hear these stories from our master “griots” alone; we want to hear from those mastering their art, too. Hence, we aim at publishing new and emerging poets. We also welcome the works of established poets in order to encourage the poetic genius of those mastering poetic art. We prize original works that conform to, break or reinvent conventions. Again, we accept reviews and critical essays on poetry. We also accept powerful art works and photographs that make us appreciate the "poetry" in everything.
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