Four Poems – Chelsea Coreen



He sits in the corner, with a pitcher of beer 
and the girl. Her legs are guitar strings. 
Thin and gold. The way my legs looked 
that summer. He would pluck 
me open and fill me with hot breath. 
It felt exactly like flying, except when it didn’t. 
I watch him drum his fingers against the table, 
the way he often did when the pills wore off. 
His body became an orchestra, teeth clattered 
symbols. His eyes raced thunderstorms 
and nothing he said made any sense to anyone 
except for me. We would stay awake 
for months at a time, our fingers pressed 
against the windshield. Sometimes, he would split 
the capsule down its orange crease and pass me half 
with his tongue. Those pills made me love him, 
I think. They made my legs so thin. 
Thin enough to fit under his fingernail. 

Death Poem

I killed something. Small. Alive once. 
Wet nose. Tiny legs. Something that slept 
in a bed. Sipped water out of a blue dish. 
I killed a thing with a name. I didn’t
ask what its name was but I wondered 
as carried it to the front door, 
rang the doorbell. I didn’t know how 
else to tell. Didn’t want to leave
this small thing in the middle 
of the road like something without 
a name. Watched a mother explain 
to a child what a car can do to a deaf dog, 
what happens when you forget to shut 
the screen door. Wept until my mouth 
fell off. Vomited on the front lawn. 
So now your dog is dead and 
there’s throw up on the lawn. 
I’m sorry I’m so terrible. 
The little girl keeps poking at its 
wet nose with her thumb. 
Wake up, she says, please.
I should have bought the car 
with less blind spots. I had my eye 
on the man jogging, the woman pushing 
a stroller. I never imagined something 
so alive could fit under a car. 
She says these things happen, 
and I hear murderer. She says accident
I still hear murderer. 
I was keeping my eye on the jogger, 
on the stroller, I was trying to be so careful. 
I killed something with a name. 
I still don’t know the thing’s name. 
Just its tiny legs. Its wet nose. 
The blood that stains my fingers. 
I don’t wash my hands. I can’t.

Forget It

blue animal smashing against my back
a string of kisses or teeth
I don’t remember your mouth full 
of honey your white noise a thick gear
of bloodlust and twine
you were the quietest oil slick
all of the fire dripped wet you were
so speechless and warm


You don’t think about it
as often as you used to.

Mostly it’s a cobweb
trapeze. A hang-nail.
The widest pair of eyes.

You know that’s how he got to you.

It wasn’t the chipped teacups
full of rum. Or the lies,
a thick cloud of snakes, 

It wasn’t the basement 
with the swirling guitar strings, 
door slammed shut. 

It was the eyes

that made you feel like
a headlight. Something
you could follow home. 

This morning, dawn crept 
through the blinds like fingers,
took your throat in its hands.

You lost your breath,
forgot where you were.

You called someone
the wrong name.

You hear it’s like this sometimes:
that sometimes a mouth
can be someone else’s

mouth. Sometimes
your body doesn’t feel
like your body.

You’re not sure why this happened
today, or if it will happen again,
or how to tell someone
this wasn’t your fault
but I’m panicking,


it wasn’t your hands
but I'm scared,


it’s just this thing
that happened to me.

This morning you don’t know
how to explain so you don’t.
You sit on the floor of the shower

and watch ghosts
cling to the sliding glass.

You braid your hair and pull 
a quilt over your face. Someone
tacks a white sheet over the window.

Someone unplugs the alarm
clock and lets you sleep late.

As late as you want to.


About Chelsea Coreen

Chelsea is a poet, feminist, and sparkle enthusiast. She lives in Brooklyn, NY. View all posts by Chelsea Coreen

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