Abigail Swoboda

Video Store Guillotine

After the razor nicks the back of my neck,

I pet the wound for the rest of the week

& I google “horror movie heroine” because I want to be

hot as in un-murderable—

as in big sweater blonde clutching a kitchen knife,

as in television tits & a banshee scream.

& I think I need more denim

so that I can barely survive the early aughts, blue

like Sidney Prescott & Picasso & Lilith’s eyes

upside down on the living room wall.


Storyland was closed when we found ourselves

there—Spanish moss coronating the cardboard cartoon cutouts

like slow spider silk, unearthed coffins nipping

at our ankles, floating in the same water

that flooded our cousins’ houses.

Within the branches of the live oaks at the end of Annunciation,

we could see the necks of Audubon giraffes

& the sand labyrinth of red ant hills below.

Time made us forget, but

our ankles still itch.

Chain Stitch

We have eaten the stones

of a vulture’s knees, me & the mosquito

who sleeps in the threads of my eyelashes—

we are held

together by the pulp

of lime & cheese & egg whites,

me & my mosquito, mended

as broken glass.

& when I trace the names carved

into the backs of Shea Stadium seats,

I think about Alan Ladd & Ronald Colman & old Hollywood screen cowboys & about the Miracle Mets & about how all that’s left for us is to go to the moon.

The tinny buzz of tiny wings is

the rub of raised blue plastic is

what a language sounds like in a mouth

that does not know it but that loves it.

& the mosquitos are like the Miracle Mets were—

psychosomatic symptoms of a system left

for the birds.

Abigail Swoboda is a poet and kindergarten teacher who lives in Philadelphia. Visit their website abigailswoboda.com or find them on Twitter @orbigail.

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