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Tuesday, May 07, 2019


by Kelsey Bryan-Zwick 

Photo by Richard Baker, Concord Monitor, May 2, 2019

Buried under the rhododendron, left cold in a back
alley dumpster for the garbage person to deliver
to indiscriminate piles of city landfill, torn to
nothing by screaming seagulls, or tossed like so
many refugees seeking asylum, to the bottom of an
ocean more likely to be remembered as graveyard
did you think our stories would be pretty as we are?

Covered in lipstick, hair braided, words worn like
a dress, did you think our fight would be somehow
less violent than the all wars described to you in your
history books?  Well they don’t gag and bind you
with a patriarchy of rules meant to diminish your power
and your voice because they think you’ll have
nice things to say. As we shed the millions of slights
and insults meant to define us, we don’t even know
our own skin.

And when you hear us at first maybe it will just
sound like a siren, almost indiscernible from all
the white noise, but then unmistakable, an ill pitch
in the stomach, a long sickening wail, some
visceral animal, a tearing crawling shriek, clawing
our way through the silence.  After so many years in
exile, the truth is hideously real: the monster we made
our monster to love.

Kelsey Bryan-Zwick is a Spanish/English speaking SoCal poet and artist with a B.A. from UC Santa Cruz in Literature/Creative Writing.  She is the author of three chapbooks, the most recent being Watermarked (Sadie Girl Press) a hand-bound edition which intermixes both her poetry and art.  Disabled with scoliosis from a young age her poems often focus on trauma, giving heart to the antiseptic language of hospital intake forms.  A Pushcart Prize nominee, Kelsey’s poetry appears, or is forthcoming in Rise Up Review, Writing in a Woman’s Voice, Incandescent Mind, petrichor, Like a Girl, Lummox, A Poet is a Poet No Matter How Tall, Eunoia Review, and Redshift.