ENCYCLOPEDIA OF VOIDS TO THROW MY BODY INTO

by Elliott Sky Case

Every day, I talk to people
who never threw glasses against walls
in an attempt to free a creature
they couldn’t name—
I only realize it sometimes.

I could leave California 
just to wear jackets over sweaters
year round, piling layers on layers
of cotton and wool around this sarcophagus.

My significantly older ex texts me:
I still read your blog sometimes,
if that’s okay and 
I just want you to know 
I think you’re wonderful.

It’s less creepy than it sounds.
Maybe it’s the circumstances,
swear to God. Maybe it’s remembering
the Coke bottle full of flowers
and not the sweat dripping on my face.

Each day’s course is set in the time
it takes to lock my door, if I get that far.
Watch part of me stay in the lighthouse
at the back of my skull, waiting.

The stuff around my skeleton
gets thick and sloshy with the words
people might think about me.

When I imagine people
thinking about me being wonderful
it makes my eyes and throat sting.

It feels like stories my sister told me
about the worlds behind mirrors.
How inside them, there were people
exactly like us, but just a little smoother
and brighter. At night, I thought maybe
I could barely make them out
behind my scabbed-over pimples.

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