//Natalie Stastny

has your back ever peeled away like paper
has your body been soaked blond from bathing in bleach
Have you seen evening light peak in from large windows
your lungs parched
have you also prayed to join the glittery tiles at the bottom
a thought so tempting you wonder as you paddle above
do sirens sing there pray underwater
or do they just point out
that breathing in means you will shimmer down there

but you deny it
for one more day
for the last thirty minutes of practice
and during the drive home

it’s good for your character
she says
you actually love it
spoken to you as gospel
and as you choke down that fat and greasy communion into you
that preacher wonders why you won’t lose the weight.
despite the exercise in her faith in you
why can’t you be thin and pretty
so she tells you to hold your breath
as if it’s the air that inflates your stomach.

and you go to sleep burning and blond
knowing it will happen again tomorrow
because you like staring down at your corpse
as you paddle along the top
of the acid bath of light

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