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"upwards" & "Larvae" by Abigail Coe-Sullivan


i spent the day untying knots and then

reweaving them, yellow on yellow on yellow,

telling a story between my fingers

picked out in embroidery thread. 

i am made of spiderwebs,

my body held together by the intricate weave

fragile as silk and strong as bone.

my bones sit hollow against my chest as they beat in time to imaginary drums,

aching for flight.

i tie knot after knot through your yellow hair,

through her darkening curls,

through his calloused fingers,

through the transparent tubes that connect her 

to the hiss of a creature pumping with blood.

my blood, at this point,

burns through the mosaic of my body

like the hot coals i step over to get to class.

safety is a beautiful word. for now

i try not to let the heat of this world scald my hands, for my fingerprints

are all that define me to myself.

i have searched this place for definitions of sorrow. they are here,

hidden between the jacaranda petals and empty coke cans. you know

you can still see the outline of the moon, even in the spaces

it isn’t glowing.

sometimes my very step echoes like a broken rule,

sound beating against the confines of the sky, 

i reverberate through the air like the final note of a love song

or the beginning of a prayer. 

my body is a giant. i contain

the answer to every question, burrowed deep into my skin like the hair follicles

that twist away from my scalp, reaching for the sky,

i tie them to my head so that

i am rooted once more. 

i am good at knots. i tied the stars together, once,

but they strained so hard against my thread that i 

ripped it, stitch by stitch, leaving the night blue and frayed.

i tied my feet to the earth as a child,

something i recommend. there is

a knot in our eyes, when we are born,

looped around the bridge of our noses and extending

to the yellow sun. this the string that will only thicken as we age,

reaching forever toward something to burn us,

if we don’t clip it at the start. the frayed knot still lingers

behind my eyes, causing headaches when i stare too long at the sky. 

something in me knows

that is where i am going


in the garden there are now

bright orange flowers that open when the sun

is high in the sky, like imitations of their idol.

is that all the world is,

cheaper and cheaper copies

of what was once a purely beautiful thing?

i don’t want to learn anymore.

the more i learn of the world and of people,

the more the simple and beautiful things of my childhood

are complicated, dirtied.

i want my girlhood back. i want

to slide down the purple slide and skin my knees

on rough concrete. i want

to run wild in the street from the 

chained dogs in the neighbor’s yard. i want

to paint pictures of ourselves in cool mud in the summer,

and slide through wet grass under the sprinklers,

green staining our bright pink swimsuits

that almost never touched a pool.

we used to lie in the liquid heat

like our reptilian ancestors, soaking up

a sun that had already long outlived us. i want

a thousand years of forgettable summers

when the playground was a creature of breathing plastic

and we tripped eagerly over the chainlink fence 

that spat us out like 

the unformed things we were.

Abigail is a 16-year old poet in Los Angeles, California. She is a GetLit youth poet and enjoys grilled cheese sandwiches, baking with her sister, and reading "The Belles" by Dhonielle Clayton (a lot). 


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