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Three poems by Sara Youngblood Gregory

you say my name

The only time you say my name

is when you are furious the hard

s is hot oil and smoke you push me

in the shopping cart at the end of the world

the shelves are empty you tell me accountability

is a deal breaker. The cheap metal shoves my shoulder

blades you tell me to stop being a brat

it stopped being cute last march.

The center of my 20s is housing instability

or maybe watching the world pandemic

& is it worth saying

our first memory was 9/11?

the second is a cold swimming pool.

Now you just sound like my father he kicked me out

two months after we met and exploded

you push me towards apocalypse with that word: accountability.

What am i supposed to do with a word i’ve never felt?

the shelves are empty and we’re behind the glass

everyone in this central florida town

they run around us because there is no water

but so much candy.


ten days before i am disowned my head spins three days after i am disowned (my mother

on the phone screaming i am sick) i am sick & the world (sick) starts to spin

again, but faster again, but full time

it’s the crystals in my ears it was the roadtrip the mountains the badlands the arizona desert that goddamn fire that plane to new york the altitudes or all three fill up ear canals full

of fluid the ocean & mother’s wet, young blood (how dare you write that) straight to my brain & suffocate

crystals in my head decide when earth is flat when we (you, me, mother, think how this affects

us) walk straight crystal four & final is gravity like a compass the only one not in

my head spins til i am sick sick all over some dress and frills i sink to the surface grasp, puke, rip off lace (all you ever do is run away)

* Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV, is one of the most common causes of vertigo. BPPV is a result of tiny crystals in your inner ear being out of place. The crystals make you sensitive to gravity and help you to keep your balance.. When they are out of place, the crystals make you sensitive to movement and position changes that normally don’t affect you, sparking vertigo. --Mayo Clinic.

drop the bomb or help me means the same thing to the fbi

my body is so wrecked with pain i walk like i’m 80

and arthritis is having a party

mom is out out dancing and cuz no one retires anymore

i head into work home office

creaking type type typing

garbage language into a garbage screen

let me lay my chest on your computer

getting messages like

baby i’ll see you at lunch

keep me clacking keep me from cracking

i get slack messages from HR saying im paranoid

i’m paranoid wrecked with pandemic.

When was the last time i said no?

no into her pillow. no into his hand.

no to overtime?

my tongue and clack clack fingers and garbage wreck body

get sore from saying my own name: no no no

the fbi is tracking everything i do when i clack

most of which is to write garbage

which if translated to morse code is

/ drop the bomb or

help me /

which to the fbi means the same thing

paranoia that’s fine pandemic is fine

as long as you’re pretty

pain is starting to make me gaunt

in the way that looks like i’ve seen sunshine

but not felt it in years and years,

maybe since i was 21

what is left behind

i’m huffing petrichor and power lines in the bathroom

huffing whippets on weekends and setting serotonin on fire

this wednesday I am on fire

*this poem references linette reeman’s “The FBI Uses My Pronouns Correctly When They Search My Apartment For Evidence”

Sara Youngblood Gregory is a lesbian poet and culture writer. She serves on the board of directors for the lesbian literary and arts journal Sinister Wisdom. Her work has been published or forthcoming in The Rumpus, Tahoma Literary Review, Queen Mobs, and The Adroit Journal.

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