Staircase wit

It’s spring & everyone’s joking / about killing themselves again. You’re getting better / at moving through different cities without your eyes / tapped to the blue dot of your being / on the phone’s map. Anywhere you go / it seems you just missed the cherry blossoms, / dead receipts of petals on the ground, / but you’ve never had a cleaner sense / of direction. The cynicism has limped so far / back around that you can take inspiration / from hot sauce packets. You would like / to live more. You’ve got a face to make / in the mirror to check that you’re cute. / You’re at the age where you explain your politics / naked about once a week. You are of the age / where the mass murderers also grew up / with mass murder drills. Traces of carbon-14 / thread the cells of everybody you’ve ever known / & everybody you’ll never meet / because you’re alive in the same world / as atom bombs. You walk clutching your own hand / like a splintered banister. / Born as you were into real life / at the top of the century, the future’s headlines / rise as water or ash or something else hard / to breathe through. You know what to say now. / You’ve heard it’s too late.

Rhiannon McGavin has failed the driver’s license test three times. Her work has appeared in The Believer, Teen Vogue, The LA Times, and more. She is the former Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles. Her books Branches and Grocery List Poems are both available from Not A Cult.

%d bloggers like this: