She is overflowing.
She is terrified of men, delicate down
to the very capillaries that open and close
She eats horror like a tapeworm, craves
Columbine and Holocaust and interruption
and all of the decapitated paraplegic unfinished
stories that nobody can digest; chews and chews
and swallows hurt with a swollen smile.
She never purges.
She revels in bad sex, misplaced intimacy,
with those men she never learned
to talk to, that reveal fresh wounds
and promptly cover them again,
preferring her clean.
She lets them rip out her earrings
with thirsty hands, leave bitemarks
on her buttercream speckled skin,
authorize her dispensability.
And she keeps grief, her dearest companion,
at bay; never lets it slither up her throat
and strangle when she nibbles
at nostalgia, or tastes bitter memories
on the tip of her tongue.
She never speaks hurt, never reveals
where she’s stitched herself shut.
She never complains to her veins, never asks why
no one requested permission before pumping something
out to her edges.
Mary Claire Shingleton is a poet from Bluff Park, Alabama. She has a degree in Elementary Education from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and plans to devote her life to the education of young children. In addition to writing and studying, Mary Claire is also a mother to a wonderful two-year-old.