By: Sofia Dewey

Groin to Grave

i am full of it. 

i have never denied this– maybe only to the men who have 

spit the words out just short of a reaction to acid reflux;

to the tall people that stand grand and dark in doorways

like the room is theirs for the taking. 

i am full of rain and 80 grit sandpaper, 

the incomprehensible need to become smaller, 

to grind my way through walls and

slide past the outstretched arms

of people trying to kiss me. 

i think one day i might grate off the lock around

my neck and slip inside the nearest mirror.

perhaps losing my reflection as well as

my shadow would be good for me–

i think i am too heavy and awkward in this place

to be taken seriously.

full of sailing rope and empty snake skin

coiled around my knees,

i am swimming to the surface

of a silver lake and the bottom of 

a darkening january sky. 

i hate the cold. 

and we are told confidence is key:

that is, unless you are

woman, born out of pain and pushed 

into it head first– bleeding like

there is no tomorrow but, 

there you go, waking up again. 

and i am full of it. 

strange i have not sunk through yet.

maybe that is all i need to do: 

exist as less than i can, 

wither down like spring floods

and artificial dirt, 

become bones without man. 

full of it, 

from groin to grave. 

Midnight Runs to Swampland

last night i dreamt that i packed my grandmother and dog into my car and ran away from home after midnight. 

it is pitch black and i don’t have my headlights on: everyone is quiet 

but the car is buzzing like summer air in the middle of winter. 

i am driving with wild purpose; we are going somewhere– i know it because i can feel it in my fingertips. 

when i round the corner of a trail in the forest the northern lights are shining and flickering like fireworks over a mountain that does not exist. 

i start to shout. i am crying because it is so beautiful and my eyes are burning out of my head: look! grandma, look! have you ever seen this? 

one mississippi, two, and she is screaming something at me, 

in the dark and past the moon that is hanging in the sky like the icing of a cake already drenched in sugar. 

she is screaming and pointing at my windshield: my dog groans as she skids into the window. 

my fingertips were tingling with so much hunger and my head so full of sparkling lights that i drove into a swamp at 60 miles an hour: a few feet to the right of the bridge i was supposed to take. 

i am sobbing now, wailing for forgiveness in my mother tongue and sitting limp against my seat, my hunk of dark metal sinking into the black muddy water. 


my grandmother resents me under her breath and reaches behind my back to force open the drivers side door. 

my car is sinking and i have not even made it four miles from the home i am running away from. 

i crawl out of my hyundai and my feet touch wet sand; i wipe snot off my face with the sleeve of a shirt i hate.

 i am dragging my car sideways onto the bridge, breathing in the silence of my grandmother smoking and the surprise of warm water. 

the moon is gone. 

i am staring at a few stars and an led billboard where aurora borealis used to be: 

the holes burned into my eye sockets are cold and full of ash. my fingers aren’t buzzing. 

Fax to a Coastguard; Conversations with My Mother

i am a very good swimmer, 

and i think i am drowning. 

my nose is above the surface and

i am begging stop/its not worth it/we are going down. 

we may well be, but my body is stubborn and starving,

thrashing and losing, 

and in the end only one of us will resurface. 

then again, how will the coast guard tell the difference

between that and a floating body?

remind me

i say to the woman afraid of drowning, of black water, of not coming back up. 

what my name means. 

it is tired, and old, and familiar,

and still i am sinking out of spite. 


still, i have no footing, no faith, 

and the dirt clay beneath me has fallen away. 

the birds have stopped singing.

maybe it is the salt caked inside my ears,

but i think if i opened my eyes-

black and angry to the sun-

i would still be surprised

that they have left.

i am drowning.

i know it. 

the lonely planet has taken me, 

in quiet violence,

with fingers bloodied from years of scraping the bottoms of barrels. 

have me, 

i choke it out like a final plea- 

ridden with worry over the chance that perhaps the earth has changed its mind 

and will spit me back up onto the cold sand that i crawled out from. 

have me now, or never again.