Gnashing Teeth Publishing

| words that get in your teeth

[Surviva|lNotice] by Toby Grossman

My friend is rushed to the ICU
and I am [worried|jealous].
The nurses flush out her death
wish with charcoal. I have offered
my chest as a [cutting|white] board
over and over and still
no one leaves
any [gashes|marks].
[Sometimes|always] I can’t breathe.
Won’t [someone|my mother]
unhook the [cross|sunlight]
weighing my neck?
Forgive me for being
[morbid|honest] but every time
I scrape poison
off another arrow
mouth, I chop my own
[arms|history].
When the [knife|fact]
is pressed metal against
my sternum, I have nothing left
to [say|save].
The poke of my ribs
is a [shipwreck|answer]
but only treasures
drown. I’m looking for
my [mother|story]. She left me
for better [children|plots].
What can I tell my half
gone [past|god]?
I am not ready to abandon
this [planet|hurt] just yet
but I am so [weary|alive].
An ambulance siren wails
from my throat
but my friend is already
[better|known].

Bio:  Toby Grossman is a poet exploring the absurd and the paradoxical in between games of backgammon and scrabble. She often writes through the lens of her experiences with mental illness and alienation. Her work has recently appeared in Kissing Dynamite and Anti-Heroin Chic and is upcoming in The Bitchin’ Kitsch.

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