Ruth Madievsky | Poetry

Okay, so I am always performing
for others, my handshake like sugar
taking the shape of a glass, my tube-top confidence
and always keeping an apology
onsite, trying not to be
the beige of pantyhose, wanting to glow
like a lollipop
pulled from a stranger’s mouth,
but not an opiate lollipop, not a mouth
with its tongue cut out.
My whole life I’ve wanted to not be
the kind of person
who looks herself up in the DSM-5 and checks
the boxes and then fetishizes
how fucked up she is
for checking the boxes.
Watch me pretend that there isn’t
a panic room behind my face
and it isn’t unlocking
like the jaws of every shark
I’ve dissected, that I didn’t choose which way
the scissors turned,
but of course I did, of course
I awoke the eggs asleep inside me.
Yes, I jumped like a pill
into a coffee mug. I argued with the cold
indifference of light
and lost. I resisted
the rituals of femininity and lost. I may
have heard my spine break,
I may have thrown a real or metaphorical phone
at my head, I didn’t die,
I did become a fight
no one wanted to break up.
I read into the feeling
that I’m a cold webbed thing
the Los Angeles River
hallucinated. First there was dark,
then I ate that too.