The ungodly planted
this withering sore—the apple of my eye.
Kiss the son, put a little in him.
I cried for his cheekbones, his broken teeth.
Speak holiness in his throat, his tongue.
I am weak.
I crouch in this groaning place
I have the path in my palm—take it.
I am sunk under the gate.
Break the arm of the fatherless,
bend their lips to silver.
I have become filthy in those eyes,
I will never be moved to fullness.
The belly of the world went up in smoke.
They saw the waters,
their sacrifice is cleaner than honeycomb
The affliction of my hands is the end of their
heaven, but let my words be meditation.
My jaws dried up— I am a Womb melting to
poison. This is the man that seeks my face—
that temple gnawed to bone and teeth.
My name would remain in the wilderness.
Weigh your violence in my mouth, your graceful transgression.
The night snapped open like a ribcage.
You were beautiful, you cried like a dog.
Edited by Jamie Chen.
LAUREN CALDWELL is a queer, 20-year-old poet from San Francisco, California. She attends Lewis and Clark College in Portland, majoring in English and rhetoric and media studies. Lauren explores, through her work, her struggles as a young person grappling with bipolar disorder. She hopes to use writing to promote introspection and healing for all.