* * *
my sixteenth year spreads itself between steam
flooding under a locked door & my mother
knocking softly. a juicy lucy burger waits
in my stomach & i’m on my knees ready to carve
it out with a toothbrush, the shower curtain
a steel wall laced between body & wanting.
my tongue flattens itself against the wall
of my cheek. i wrap my fingers around
the bristles of the brush. plunge backward.
i think of the bird (i always think of the bird).
when i was eight, watching a blue jay throw
herself against the window over & over
ignoring my mother below wielding a broom
& desperation, front door gaping. later we buried
her in a shoebox under a bed of poppies. i swoop
anything i can find into the closed window of my throat
in hopes it will become a door, wide & empty.
i end on the shower floor, aching for poppies,
to stop bloodying my body against the promise of beauty.
* * *
Sydney Vogl is originally from Los Angeles, but now lives and writes in San Francisco. In 2020, she was chosen as the poetry fellow for the Martha’s Vineyard Institute for Creative Writing. Her work has been featured in The Racket. Currently, she serves as the poetry editor for The San Franciscan magazine and works as an educator to Bay Area youth.
featured photo by Nesley Rojo