God Forgive Me, I Like the
Drama of Watching

myself at nineteen, rising from a horizon
of gurneys. Her toothpick-thin arm lifts
to take an offered pen. Intubated, she groans

and feels the groan vibrate
around the plastic tube in her throat.
She hasn’t noticed the pus-crusted


staples the nurse hasn’t cleaned, not yet.
She doesn’t know it’s been a week
since warm shots at the stereo with a boy


who did not find it necessary to stop her
(no one could stop her), but the audience
(me) is always in on the secret, the previous scene


as context for difficulty breathing.
Brain bleeding. Brain an inkblot liquor stain
until the heroine blinks the coma away


and presses the ballpoint to yellow paper.
Did I do this to myself? With distance,
I marvel at her first question.


With years, the implication
is that one comes to accept
the rhythms of one’s wickedness,


how a girl can fail again and again
like an ocean’s pulse, and it is effortless
to discuss myself like this, as main character.


Painful to remember my mother
taking the note, kissing my forehead,
and saying, Yes. She loved me too much to lie.


Read on . . .

Day of Abandonment,” a poem by Elisa Gonzalez


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