Sarah Hernandez: Poetry: May 2021

Southern Legitimacy Statement: I was born near the swamp of Houston, Texas and the summertime there still makes me feel like I’m drowning on land. Although it’s not the prettiest beach, I would still run to Galveston often as a college freshman when I needed the solace of the ocean’s pulse.

ashes on our stoop

i used to think you looked so fucking cool,
lips wrapped around your death like that
almost as though you knew and didn’t care.

how could i have foreseen all this waiting,
in chairs, on floors, sit and pace and sit,
never going only stopping, stopping, stopping.

you breathe it like you savor it.
i cringe with every desperate inhalation
as though I could save you from yourself.

why do you hate this body so much?
convinced that you need this shit to survive
and spending our lifeblood to obtain it.

i’ve never felt such rage as i did the other day,
watching you suck the last dregs of one down
as though taking in the only oxygen left in the world.

sometimes i’d like to kill you myself,
just to make it all stop smelling like tar
and to know that it wasn’t you this time.

but maybe it was me after all and always,
slowly dying to leave me behind.