Girlhood

by Alysia Sawchyn

 
Humidity holds slurs mid-air like painted
birds in flight. A treacherous landscape—rock
quarry, kudzu, support beam, human. To drink
mouthwash from the bottle is to throw up

peppermint. To remember
what a self-inflicted concussion feels like,
draw lattice patterns across your arm
with a razor blade, lightly,

small red beads blooming like rhododendron buds.
Soft skin behind the knees, slick. A girl
lost in the South, mouth
sharp and clipped around the vowels. This is

what it means to be lucky:
When you go missing and they call the police
everyone claps at your return. Hands like pigeons,
welcoming you home.

Alysia Sawchyn currently lives in Tampa, Florida, where she is a nonfiction editor for Sweet: A Literary Confection. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Fourth Genre, Indiana Review, Southeast Review, and elsewhere.