August 24, 2015

Shamala Gallagher: “Summer Eighteen”

Gallagher_picture

This week we feature a new poem by Shamala Gallagher. Gallagher’s poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Black Warrior Review, Verse Daily, Copper Nickel, VOLT, Waxwing, and elsewhere. She is a Kundiman fellow and the author of a chapbook, I Learned the Language of Barbs and Sparks No One Spoke (dancing girl press). She has worked as a case manager for homeless families in San Francisco and for HIV+ individuals in Austin, and she holds an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers. She now lives in Athens, Georgia, where she is a PhD candidate in English and Creative Writing at the University of Georgia.
 
Author’s note:

This is a slanted/blurred vision of a summer in my life. There is a weighted dark beneath this poem, at least in my own understanding of it. I hope you can tell. Sometimes I am interested in confession, but it’s not that I think my own experiences carry particular significance. I like confession’s aesthetic thrill: its flicker of the sublime couched in the glittering and intricate grammars of allusiveness.

 

Summer Eighteen

 

My town stood alone
on a flat page of land.

 

My parents went to work.

 

A day was a big
maw-hole.

 

I tore some grass off
the edge of a yard.

 

Paced a junk aisle
of empty-bright wrappers.

 

I liked plastic chews
of sour sugar

 

and flame-heat-crunch
chemical spice.

 

My ex called to say
come suck me off.

 

I liked one drastic taste
to erase another,

 

leaving back-throat
wild jarring residues.

 

Later, I’d shit,
feeling half-cleaned

 

and okay.
Nights, I snapped

 

bored pictures
of my naked

 

mass. Pictures of
the mirror.

 

Sad nude with
black hairs.

 

In her hands
flashed a fascinating

 

crisis of light.

 

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