Nitroglycerin by Virginia Laurie

You were four the first time you realized
you could turn your body into a bomb,
the explosion knocked you back onto the
Kindergarten rug, pastel alphabet, you

looked down at the blades on your wrists and
laughed when you realized you weren’t burnt,
just sore, and people were looking at you with
something unlike anger, apathy in their faces,

no more red twin eyes in the mirror scowling,
so you smiled too, all molars and adrenaline.

You realized other people did burn, pink skin
going red with the sun, and the smell was not
as new as you thought it would be, singeing
elbows, pink, red to grey, the curling edges of

paper, the paper moon and voice that picks
at your cuticles no matter how you toss and
turn on the mattress, etch your fingers into the
desk, it will never be enough for her, fire

filling your double throats, and you no longer
like your best friend’s spine, pencil straight and mocking.

So you turn him inside out, leave him in the wooded
area behind your house, the empty corners of kitchen
and clean leather, the unsaturated walls, echoing in
on themselves, all the sounds of a humid silence that

turn the living room murky, make the clocks stop ticking,
scared too to draw her attention, you’ve begun to hit
things soft and hard. You’re learning how to detonate
one finger at a time, late in the bathroom at night,

it is about power and control, climbing ranks, being
the best. It is about solid ground.

Virginia Laurie is a student at Washington and Lee University whose work has been published in LandLocked, Panoply, Phantom Kangaroo, Short Vine, Tiny Seed and The Merrimack Review.

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