“After the Water Turns Over” & “Thursday, 9 a.m.” by Abigail Swoboda

Geometric abstract illustrations, primarily black and white with thin lines in rainbow colors

After the Water Turns Over

Wide awake and fucking wired in Washington Square Park,
shaking with caffeine on the bisected wooden bench, ribs aching,
I call my dad and tell him I understand arson—
I really get it.

I get it like I get oil on linen; linsey-woolsey; boiled cotton
billowing from the kitchen sink—
the smell that will become a memory that will become old.

I don’t tell him I’ve been dreaming of a feminine past—
of blue night and a moon that stains my sheets;
of the rhythmic breathing of the radio host asleep at the desk,
thinking maybe tonight I will not sleep alone.

When you look quickly enough,
everyone in the emergency waiting room is fine, and
there are no tracks left
in the snow.

Thursday, 9 a.m.

At the end of all my bruises, I am breathing
spiders through the webs and rainwater that gathered
in my mouth when I walked between the sun-bleached yard sale signs clinging
onto splintered telephone poles by hope and sticky cellophane.

In this vestibule of rural suburbia,
an old woman with pink hair like cotton candy passes me
on her way to walk through the drive-in ATM.

Maybe it is me.

By the time I’m done dying, I’m sure
it will be.

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Abigail Swoboda is a queer, nonbinary poet based in Philadelphia, PA, where, sometimes, they can see the future. You can find them embroidering in a dark room, or on their website abigailswoboda.com or on Twitter @orbigail or Instagram @honeymoonbeam.

Caitlin Bechtel is a designer living in Portland, OR. She makes photographs about loneliness and embroideries about neurosis. She studied photography at Massachusetts College of Art & Design and graphic design at Pacific Northwest College of Art. She’s on instagram @ccccaitlin.