“West Philly Tire Fire” by Gabrielle Martin

I’m not sure I get it. All this mess.
Here, at the end of my rope and
Then some, I am peering down
The barrel of the last crumbs
Of my chip bag.
It crinkles down my jaw.
I lick my fingers clean,
Glistening with the dew
Of your foolish aftershave. For men.
I’m sick of men, and women too.
I’m so sick of it all. My body is sick
All the time and I dance in it.
Painful wallowing stinking body,
At least I have all my fingers
And one grey hair.
Anyway, I was walking and looked at my phone
And looked up at the blue blue sky
And saw the black cloud slashing
Across it and thought: hunh.

My soles are peeling and my tongue tastes
Like dying. A mile away the fire burns
Itself into a hill, lurching higher and higher
Like hell unfolding lazy like a Wednesday
Smells like tires and is.
Furies slow and stupid and breaking.
I take a deep breath, crinkle.
My body hurts beside me.

Gabrielle Martin is a poet living and working in West Philly. Originally from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, much of their formative years were spent shucking corn. They are the author of the chapbook Gritty City, recently released from Moonstone Press. Find them on Twitter @crabbygabie.

Image: “Stay Away Not 4 Sale” by Daniel Nester

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