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Mallory Michaud Apr 2019
I lied on my back
Under the oak,
Taller than my self assurance
And bigger than my confidence
In Civic Center Park.
The sky was pregnant with a thunderstorm past its due date.
The little local band was playing their little local songs on the little fold up stage.

I was Thinking about why I️t mattered so much how I looked to everyone.
Here in this park
Or in the grocery store
Or the coffee shop
“Because we want to be beautiful.”
I️ thought
“Because I want to be loved”

I remembered then, that I was
Perhaps not by all,
But by a few. A really important few.
They tell me in special languages
And bring me plates of spaghetti
(And I eat it, even with the meat, because I love them back)
And they drive an hour and a half to bring me home.
And I don’t feel so afraid
Or sad
Or irrelevant
As I lie with my cherry boxing gloves
Under the oak
Taller than my fears, and bigger than my insecurities.
I’m just one with the mamas and their tuft hair babies
And the beer sipping husbands
And the pizza chewing boys
And the women with bikes
And the couples on their blankets
And the tie-dye tee teenagers
and the taco truck workers
And the sleepy dogs
And the kids with the football.
I’m just with love.
It’s all love here.

— A tiny concert revelation

2:06 P.M. June 30th, 2018
Mallory Michaud Apr 2019
I lay my woozy wobble head down
On the floor
And close the blinds over my eyes
And open up the windows to my ears
To listen to the lullaby that loneliness is playing for me on the radio

It sounds like low violin,
The sound bumblebees make,
Sad and sharp as the nails I dig into my palms
While I sway gently,
to myself
On the living room floor

I can hear the piano
In the song now,
Popping sweet
Like a blueberry on the nights tongue.
The piano is crying
I am crying too.

I keep the blinds closed
Search blindly
For the bottle
I left standing
Like a bowling ball pin
Tangled up in my hair
I kiss that bottle and she kisses me back
And we laugh while
Saltwater and grape blood
Dance awkward and slow on my tongue
Like they’re at their first
middle school dance
And their hands are clammy
But their hearts are racing

The song ends and lonely smiles
Just barely,
Like a crescent moon,
And treads lightly across my
hardwood mattress
Lonely curls up next to me, and we all fall asleep
Like that.
Wine bottle on one side,
Lonely on the other,
Right in the middle

- At least this time, it tasted like Pinot
Mallory Michaud Apr 2019
Someone once asked me why
I starve
When I know it could **** me
“It’s not even attractive
To be that skinny”,
They said.

I let the sentence simmer and bubble in my crockpot cranium,
And chewed it for a long time
After it was done cooking

“I want the parts of me”
I said
“That nobody has made *****”
The hips and the ribs and the spine
And the knobby knock knees
That so many man-children
In my young life
Have not had the chance
To bruise and scratch
And touch
And dissect.

I want the bones
And I’ve wanted them as long as my hole punched
Memory can recall
Because they are the one thing
That has ever,
Been mine
And mine alone.
The secret I can grab with both hands.

-people can not destroy what you keep hidden
Mallory Michaud Apr 2019
You’re the first girl I ever felt in my
Hammocking between my littlest ribs
With each swing
My bones creaked
And sang
A violin’s voice
You bumped my heart and made it beat
With every lazy kick of your foot

You’re the first girl
Who’s ever touched my hand
Crocheted your little fingers
In between mine, so
Where I end is where you start
And I feel like I could go on and on
Forever, attached to something this beautiful.

You’re the first girl that
made me fly
I strung my patchwork scarf
Across my back and flapped
My arms
And I had wool wings
And my teeth forced my lips apart and refused to let them meet again
I was laughing
I was soaring
I was Icarus.

You’re the first girl
Who’s made me cry
Big and ugly
Tire marks black
Down my cheeks
Hit and run me over with want
My lungs heave-hoing out oxygen
Like there’s just not enough in the
whole world to fill them

You’re the first girl
That made me feel
On top of the world
And underneath it
All in the same week.

-I’d keep the globe perched on my shoulders indefinitely if it made you smile
Mallory Michaud Dec 2018
You know,
It’s just me but I guess I just find it
That people say it’s girls who have loose lips
When the boys at this table have mouths
Like open caves
With stalagmite teeth
Bats come flying out

I guess,
It’s just my magic trick,
The way I become invisible
When the boys
Sit down for dinner
And they open up their backpacks
And their gym bags
And pull out butcher knives
That shine like brand new quarters
In the cafeteria fluorescents

I’m not sure,
But maybe
The churning of my stomach
Is a sign
That there’s sharks
In these waters
I feel my wet socks in my wet shoes as I jiggle my knee
And watch the boys
With their knives
Start chopping up girls on the plastic top table

They cut slices off of Julia
and Megan
And Kara
and lob them across the table
to their friends
Just Like the men at
Pike Place Fish Market
Fling whole salmon
Into each other’s gloved hands
I saw them do it
When I went to Seattle once.
I feel water climbing up my legs.
I see a shark fin.

Did I blush red?
When the boy next to me catches
Katie’s legs
In his calloused hands
And laughs a laugh that sounds like
An out of tune violin
They’re all laughing now,
Like car horns and fire alarms
Laughing about
Katie’s legs
And Kara’s ***
And Megan’s hips
And Julia’s ****
It’s the ugliest orchestra I’ve ever heard

And perhaps,
I’m the only one who’s noticed,
But we’re not in the cafeteria anymore
We’re right there
In that room
In that bed
In that moment
And I don’t want to be there.

And I know,
For sure,
No maybes,
That If JuliaMeganKaraKatie knew
We were all here too
In her room
In her bed
In her
That she’d cry enough saltwater
To flood the whole earth
And wash it clean.

We leave the table
Bones on the floor
Shark boys clean their teeth with toothpicks
My clothes are soaked
All the way up to my neck.

-I never go in the ocean, I’ve seen the sharks when they frenzy.
Mallory Michaud Dec 2018
Have you ever felt fear
So strong
It made you

You’re running and hear
The heat
Whispering against your neck
Into your cheeks and the tips of your ears
Cherry stained
Cherries, red and fat and sickly sweet
Force themselves up your throat

You’re running in shoes
That aren’t meant for running
Down the sidewalk past the midnight hour
You make a biker stop and stare
He asks you something
But you’re too busy unzipping the air and
Through it
Trail of cherries behind you.

You’re running
Across the street
And you feel your hands fall off
And then come your toes
You lose an arm
And then it’s twin
Your whole torso
And hips
Left on the double yellow line
You’re just a head and legs
Cherries spilling like rubies
From your lips

You’re running
And running
and running
Until you only feel cherry seeds
On your tongue
Only seeds between your teeth
No more cherries
Your legs become red silk ribbon and you pick a tree as tall as heaven to
Collapse under.

You stopped running.
You wring the cherry juice out of your sweater
Lick it off your fingers,
Wipe it out of your eyes.
Your legs grow back into legs
And you collect your
pieces and parts
on the walk back.
Follow the trail of smushed squished cherries

You pick one up
put it in your mouth
Sour as battery acid
You swallow it whole
And go back to your essay
On rhetoric.

-spring sprung a leak, and there’s no stopping her
Mallory Michaud Jul 2018
I have had
Of your
Verbal venom

You held my arm tight
In your iron fist
And spit acid on my
Watching it burn holes
All the way down to my bones

You always did like to watch
Your influence in action
Or maybe
You always liked to be right.
Either way,
I️ grew up with holes in my skin
and my self esteem.
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