Mayhem Literary Journal is generously sponsored for 2019 by Te Whare Wananga o Waikato, The University of Waikato

Shark Teeth - Kristy Lagarto

The route to your house 
in the daylight 
is different at night. 
The road turns to currents 
and the buildings are coral 
blooming in their lawns,
the sand gardens. 
The headlights of cars
are tiny fish. 
They catch the edges 
of mirrors in the water’s 
light and bleed white and gold,
fog the windshield, a tide of
loss and shadow,
muffled music.

The second time I went
to see you I couldn’t 
swim fast enough. You
make me feel light. 
You turn my lungs
over in your palms 
until they become windpipes
and pierce a hole 
through the sky with 
their sound. I spin
out through my ears, 
rush to a beat with 
drunken feet, wide eyed 
and slick bird winged 
with a panicked pulse.

I wish I could have done 
something, anything
to be the ribbon sent 
across the sky flying
like a star stained lighthouse 
beacon, one that wraps you
up on the glassy surface, 
keeps you afloat in the 
present, banishes dark
underneath, sweeps away sharp
rocks, shark teeth.

Thigh Gap - Kristy Lagarto

I do not 
want to be beautiful.

I want to be small, minuscule, 
I want to be compact.
I do not want to be held 
in your arms. 
I want to be held in your hand 
like a piece of lint. 
I want to be the lines 
across your palms.

But I am the finger nails 
you never let grow out, 
the ones you chew off and spit 
on the floor, crush into
the ground with your feet.
I am your dirty habit.

I want my sister to hate me 
for my glass torso and 
cardboard arms, covered in
translucent film.
I want my finger tips to turn blue 
like I dip them inside my heart, 
like I dyed my hair and did not wear gloves. 
I want my skin to be frail,
to rip like rice paper when crinkled, 
and I want you to see my spine 
through my T-Shirt,
a jagged map.

I want you to drink
soup out of my collar bones.
I want you to build New York City
in the gap between my thighs
that I love like I love myself,
and I despise it so much.

I do not 
want to be beautiful.

Fixers - Kristy Lagarto

When I fuck with
the lights on
there is a reason
my body creaks and 
closes like a casket lid.
It’s the same reason
I set fire to photographs
of a little blonde girl
in a green dress
with flowers in her hair,
while my eyes
follow the smoke
and the doctors
prescribe me more pills.
And more pills. And more
pills, until my stomach rattles,
full of round pink ‘fixers’
that I want to chase down with vodka.
But they won’t let me
because they know I’ll
try to drown myself.

I tied my tongue
like ribbons in my hair
but my silence came
out my eyes, sunken,
like debris when no one chose to hear
my roots being ripped up,
my body eroding to the sound
of daddy’s zipper,
And 12 years later I wake
in damp sheets and 
my bones rattle
to the echo of his voice
knocking in my skull
as it cracks like a frozen lake
moves through the haemorrhage
of a once perfect child.

I twist my body and look back
at my whimper lowered
to half mast, and at him as he
stands over me with his sticky
hand down my pants,
laughing as I wake with 
body bags beneath my eyes
and enough blame and
shame in my gut
to name the hurricane
after myself.

If I could face him I’d say
that he created me a storm,
that his claws carved me animal,
that I throw my fists
at every man who lays
his hands on me when I’m sober
because I’m convinced every
man’s hands belong to him.

I’d say that I sat on
the side of the road at midnight
and waited for any creature
to identify my body as a carcass,
to swallow every cell of sweat
and leave nothing behind.

I’d say I remember the cracked
fault line that ran through
his eyes, and the way he
shook hands with my father.

I’d say how I counted
out pills on my kitchen counter,
ripped razors apart so I could
stash the blades in my undie drawer
to bring out again and
again when I couldn’t stop
the feeling of his fingers
running over my skin
after begging the bodies
of strange men to erase
the canvas he painted
deep inside me, to
not respect me
just fuck me.
And in the morning I would
shovel my body out of their
beds and walk home swollen,
a little more broken,
and no closer to scraping out
the remnants that he
sewed into the pit.

Contributor's Note

Kristy has found publishing success with pieces published in Brief and Mayhem. She also squeezed all her studies into whirlwind year of classes in order to finish her degree (a BA in English and French) early, so she could travel overseas and end up living in New York City.

 

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