on finding out both our mothers tried killing themselves—yours on a balcony, mine on a couch

by Allegra Lisa

  • pt. 1 in which i am noticing a pattern
  • i met your mother over the summer–after we’d burned
  • every inch of our skin in washington square park and declared our love
  • for non-sisters, men who hold their tongues, and everything
  • wrinkly and tired. she is a shell
  • of a woman; a familiar haunting. when i was fourteen, i pulled my mother out
  • of her car and into the house she’d swallowed me in. she found a home
  1. in my hands–a drunk and half-plucked whisper that i was worthy.
  2. if i’d stayed, you would have found it, too.
  3. pt. 2 in which i ignore previously established pattern and keep seeing you (interlude)
  4. on fridays, i curl
  5. my hair and pin
  6. myself to your ribcage.
  7. i want to live
  8. here: i want to breathe
  9. inside of you like this.
  10. pt. 3 in which i stop holding my breath around you
  11. on sundays, i paint tea tree oil into my skin, call it confirmation,
  12. and think of your mother, and the way she kissed my cheek
  13. the night i teased aloe into your shoulders. i think of all the people i’ve loved
  14. who ate themselves from the inside out until they couldn’t stand the taste of salt.

Allegra Lisa is a 21-year old poet attending Sarah Lawrence College in New York. Her work can be found in the 2019 issue of Yo-New York!, the anthology The Anatomy of Desire published in December of 2018 in The Poetry Annals, the first issue of What are Birds Journal, the 2017 spring issue of The Stockholm Review of Literature, and the 2016 and 2017 issues of The Interlochen Review. Her poem “my body is the kept piece of hail in our freezer-the one that hit you on the head and melted in your palm” was nominated for a pushcart prize.