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Site design: Skeleton

Sample Poems by Elizabeth Estochen


Become Your Own Fantasies

"She looks at herself instead of looking at you, and so doesn't know you."
-Le Rouge et le Noir

Jonquil is what your momma called you,
when she said you looked like a little star
and you waited patiently to blossom.

Now you roll your hair in curlers,
filling your house with cups and saucers,
neon and silk,
becoming your own fantasies.

You are split.
On the one hand, you want
to love and be loved.
You want attention, desire;
on the other, destruction,
and a mask to hide behind.

You smear sunblock and bleach
into your skin
set your camera on a tripod
inhale peroxide
flash a photo.

You send it to everyone you know.
You stare at it all day,
wondering what people think
when they look at it.

You drive yourself to the doctor
then the pharmacy,
paint your lips in the pull-down mirror,
tilt an orange bottle toward your mouth,
paint your lips again.

Tonight, you go home,
tapping your fingers
against a steering wheel,
waiting for a phone call,
lighting a cigarette.

You remember the day you saw
a Dutch postcard
of a field of a thousand jonquils-
all exactly the same.


In Order to Disappear

When life knocked you down
you broke your leg
and in a way
without even realizing,
you relished it.

There was something alluring
about the body everyone criticized
breaking down in front of them
like a car
leaning into the weeds
on the side of the highway.

So they had no choice
but to feel remorse,
to feel pity,
which felt better than
them feeling disgust.

It was addictive,
and instead of working
to get better
wouldn't it be easier
to keep getting worse?
To savor your sips of poison
like a dandelion wine?


You grew up wanting
to disappear
but when the world
would not consume you,
you chose to consume the world.


The Fire

It was beautiful when it all burnt down,
the house,
once covered in leaves and branches
now in a spiral of tangerine.

Sirens came too late
the mammoth house
spaced distantly
from the views of humanity-
too far out to be reached
in any timely manner.

Instead, the few neighbors stood by in awe,
staring at what was once a mansion.
The roof opening its mouth wide,
screaming clouds of smoke into the sky.

They heard a heartbeat of cracks and pops
fueling the last breaths,
a gasp ascending while the support beams emerged,
the skeleton slowly exposed,
the sight almost too intimate,
a beauty
too obscene to confess.


Is It Normal

Is it a simple discovery
for everyone else
to grasp what stirs them,
what excites them?

Is it fluid?
Does it move and change
like water through channels?
Does it lift dirt and rot
swallow it up,
love and become it?

Is it normal, I type,
but I don't know
how to phrase it
like a person would.