The swim team was a ringing cross-section of girls that vibrated
like a guitar string. I wore a black bathing suit. Lemonade lip gloss
and a mess of silver charms define me. Kristina had a lip ring and
purple hair and she was on the swim team. Paige had a pixie cut
and a Grateful Dead bear patch and she was on the swim team.
Sharon was on the swim team, smoked pot behind the school in the
crunching leaves. The violet crushed velvet skirt defines me.
I thought I heard you in the hallway but it was just the radio guy
saying that Kurt Cobain had died. A floor covered in cassette tape
cases with carpenter ants trapped inside them defines me. I pulled
a safety pin out from the cobwebs in my closet, scratched his name
into my arm.
The swim team ate pastas and grains and treaded water and sang in
the shower and practice felt like torture. The pink-haired punk girl
at the end of the driveway smoked Newports and said she didn’t
want to quit, said she was “happy with her lifestyle.” The swim
team left you feeling all exhausted and hungry. The endorphins
interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception
of pain. Bethany says shaking your leg when you’re sitting down
burns hundred of calories. So I try to do it all the time. I tap my
toes and my fingers.
In health class they said picture a snowflake falling and count
backwards from ten. Catch it on your tongue. All the movies we
watch always say you’re not alone, not alone, not alone. Many
cutters are surprised to find they can achieve the same rush of
endorphins from running or other rigorous exercise. Bethany says
fanning yourself uses more energy than standing still, and actually
makes you hotter. So I sweat all day. Never wearing short-shorts
defines me. My bangs stick to my head. Or I walk down the hall
with my hair in my eyes and my eyes on the ground. Or I sing like
an alien into the fan’s spinning blue blades.
Marisa Crawford is the author of the poetry collections Reversible (2017) and The Haunted House (2010) from Switchback Books, and the chapbooks 8th Grade Hippie Chic (Immaculate Disciples, 2013) and Big Brown Bag (Gazing Grain, 2015). Her poems, essays, and interviews have appeared in BUST, Broadly, Hyperallergic, Bitch, Fanzine, and other publications, and are forthcoming in Electric Gurlesque (Saturnalia, 2016). Marisa is the founder and editor-in-chief of the feminist literary/pop culture website WEIRD SISTER. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Jessica Rae Bergamino is the author of two previous chapbooks: The Mermaid Singing and Blue in All Things: a Ghost Story (dancing girl press 2015). Individual poems have most recently appeared or are forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, Slice, So to Speak, West Branch, and elsewhere. She splits her time between Seattle and Salt Lake City, where she is a PhD student in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Utah.
The Desiring Object OR Voyager Two Explains to the Gathering Stars How She Came to Glow Among Them is available free download from the Sundress Publications website!
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