Ocean big as her thighs. Ocean big as her name.
I hide my dreams in the kingdom of your laugh lines.
But the night has no face and I never could read yours.
Understanding is a luxury and I am a peasant:
Darling, but this I know
I find truth in the things you refuse to say
and cover my ears with scared rabbit-paw thumps
because the words snake in like smoke and cling
to parts of me I like to keep pure.
Pure as angel whispers. Protect me, love,
My demons are real as nuclear weapons. And all my swords are plastic.
I cannot be. I cannot.
You allow me my weaknesses: a cow at the slaughterhouse:
nail straight through the brain.
Somebody lie. Say that isn’t me.
I look in the glass and I see my lies.
I see my lies and the lighters burning my feet, my palms
There are no choices here.
collab with mykingsinthebackrow, who’s phenomenal.
when i was sixteen, my sister died.
i don’t know why that night was different, but it was. the wizard was having a party, a huge one—we were invited. both of us. she dressed in her sequins and floating pink skirts and looked at me out of the side of her eye while she put on makeup. i squinted back. my teeth were sharp and my lips were hot and i wasn’t afraid of her, but i should’ve been.
at the party, i swallowed more pills than i’d ever wanted to, because it was the only way i could think of to forget that look in my sister’s deadening eyes. the room, the house, the whole world was spinning.the only constant was the sight of my silver flats planted firmly to the ground.
time melted and swirled and i blinked too much and everything moved too quick and too slow. cat claws sank into my arm and i saw glinda, licking her lips and pulling me away.
“come on, dor, you’re not well.”
her voice was cotton candy laced with posion; her hand was a vice grip around my wrist. she led me into some bedroom i didn’t recognize.
“just sleep. go to sleep and you’ll be home soon.”
i lay down and breathed deep and saw too many constellations in the darkness of that room and slept and woke and dreamt of being awake. then the door opened and two shapes came in, silhouettes meeting and separating by the light of the moon.
“glinda, i don’t think we should do this. dorothy—”
“shut up. don’t you want this?”
and then the voices stopped and it was just mattress springs groaning and then, all at once, it was a boy’s grunt that curdled inside of a witch’s moan. it was heavy breathing that meant it was over, heavy breathing that filled my half-sleeping, half-dead drugged-up body with dread.
it was my sister whispering, “you’re shaking.”
it wasn’t until the sun started to come up that i could move my limbs again. i found zeke lying naked in a foreign bed, trembling in his sleep. his skin was covered in glitter. i left a red lip print on his cheek, because it wasn’t like i’d ever kiss him again.
anyway, i knew he’d think it was my sister’s.
last night’s candy wasn’t sweet anymore and all that was left was a bitter, filthy taste in my mouth. i wandered out down the hallway, bracing my fingers against the wall to tiptoe past sleeping bodies that lay over each other like corpses.
she was in the kitchen, sipping from a carton of orange juice. her eyeliner and mascara had bled so she was a ghost, lips glossed with blood.
“there you are dor, let’s go home.”
i saw nothing in her eyes and turned and ran out into the street, dropping to my knees. i spit out the dirty taste of my sister’s candy until there was no more saliva in my mouth.
“what’s the matter, dor!”
her voice was like honey, angry and sad and there was so much nothing in her eyes, too loud and too much and i think i was posioned because everything inside me was hurting.
“you hurt inside? you bothered? i told you dor, love isn’t for girls like us”
her red heels clicked clicked on the black tar streets and her eyes were like fairy dust and once, my sister told me that you are most alive right before you die.
then an engine roared and the winds were everywhere, broken glass embeddedin my palms and my knees and my throat and there was screaming coming from somewhere, coming from everywhere and i must have been inside a cyclone.
my sister’s blood was dabbed onto the asphalt like thick paint. when i crawled over to her, my feet in their silver flats throbbed.
her pink lace dress was all smeared apple-red. her lips were slightly parted, exposing tin teeth. somehow they seemed duller in a dead mouth.
dead mouth, dulled teeth, dark eyes. my sister, rubbed into the street like a stain.
“oh shit oh shit oh fucking shit fuck girl hey girl fucking hell tell her to wake up get her to fucking wake up man oh fucking shit”
the guy had a deep cut on his forehead, blood cutting through his right eyebrow and trembling hands that quivered like zeke’s. he held the phone to his ear and he stuttered out the truth.
“she was in the fucking street man i dunno she was just in the street and yeah we need a fucking ambulance i think she’s dead oh god there’s this other girl she looks like her sister or something she’s just quiet she’s just holding her hand fucking hell man i think she’s dead”
slowly, the house began to wake up and and topless boys and girls with bedhead stumbled out of the house, death shocking sleep from their minds.
my fingers rubbed into glinda’s palm and someone was grabbing me, trying to pull me away.
“no, get off, get off! fuck off! stop!”
my sister’s voice snuck into my throat and i was shrieking, my voice high and shrill like a witch’s. everything was bright red and vivid and alive and dead. my sister was dead.
zeke’s hand was gripping my arm and he pulled.
“no just wait, just fucking wait please just wait”
i bent and took off glinda’s blood red heels, replacing them with my silver flats.
they fit me well.
the final piece of an amazing collab with lucy, aka rippedfishnets
when i was fifteen, my teeth tasted like metal and i was more alive than i ever thought i’d be.
i befriended the wizard and walked the yellow brick road every night. there were lions and scarecrows and my tinman sister and i made new friends with each pill that touched my tongue.
“dor, this is zeke.” my sister had glitter near her eyes and plastic emeralds on her skin. she was pulling a boy toward me and i choked on my own acid drink at the sight of him. wide-eyed, golden-haired, prettier than i was. she placed her ruby red lips near my ear and whispered that he was mine to take.
before i even poured a second drink, we were in the dark and zeke was clawing at the buttons of my blue dress. he left tiny bites on my jaw, my throat, and over the scars on my wrists where my sister used to dig in her nails. i kissed him and kissed him and kept on kissing, down and down and down.
i woke up to see my sister grinning at me, liquor-coated teeth on display. her glitter makeup was smeared everywhere. “did you have fun, dor?” she murmured, winding a finger through one of my flattened curls. i just nodded and rubbed sleep out of my eyes. my face felt bruised, and my wrists stung. i didn’t wonder where zeke had gone.
i found him later, though. we kissed in the dark so many times that i lost count.
i came to realize that zeke wasn’t any braver than i used to be. he rarely spoke, plagued by fears of stumbling over his words. on bad days, he had tremors in his hands—they kept him from pouring his own drinks or handling pills. and whenever my sister came near with her lips wet and her teeth bared, his eyes dropped to the ground, to her red high heels, to where he couldn’t see her shimmering face.
“glinda, what’s love?”
“love doesn’t exist, dor. and if it does, it’s not for girls like us.”
love wasn’t what zeke and i had. we had aching teeth from when he kissed me too hard and sad, soft smiles when he was tired and sober and sometimes i caught him looking through me like i was invisible, a ghost.
“you look like your sister, you know.”
he was tracing circles on my stomach and my mouth went dry.
“how would you know? you can’t even look at her without shaking.”
“forget it, you just, never mind.”
“no, tell me.”
“you have the same smile.”
when i was thirteen, my sister brought home a pair of red heels.
i sat on her carpet floor and paid rapt attention as she told me in whispers about parties and the stash of E, emeralds under her mattress and how maybe when i grew up, i could be like her too. she painted her toes ruby red and all i thought about was those heels. whenever i asked if i could try them on, she always said no.
my sister went out late a lot of the time, ignoring my aunt em’s strict rules and curfews. i sat on the stoop with toto and a paperback. i waited for her to come home, sometimes drunk, sometimes dead-eyed, like she’d just seen something she wished she hadn’t.
some nights it got so dark the moon didn’t shine bright enough for me to read and moths gathered around the porch light. those were the nights she climbed into my bed after she came home. she would whisper in my ear all about dead witches and magic and clutched my wrist tight until she fell asleep next to me.
she was mean sometimes, too.
“you’re just a stupid pussy, aren’t you. you’re such a good little girl, watching stupid sitcoms with auntie em and petting your little dog over and over, every fucking night. you could be living.”
i thought her heart was made of tin, but i never told her that.
when i was fourteen, my sister smiled with tinman teeth and made me live.
“come on dor, it’s just a shot. you won’t even get drunk and if you do, i’ll be here with you.”
when i sipped, it was acid in my throat. and when i drank, it was lying in a field of pink flowers, staring at the quivering sky of my sister’s bedroom ceiling.
soon we were doing worse.
glinda told me that his name was the wizard and that he sold only the finest E, dubbed emeralds. he was having a party, she said, red lips tilted up in a grin, and we were invited.
“well, i was invited. i’m just bringing you along.”
she dug out a filmy blue dress from the back of her closet and slipped me into it, purring that i looked just like she used to,when she was a kid. i looked at my sister in her glitter and clouds of pink lace and those red high heels and i knew, i knew that i would never look like her.
when we got to the party, she swallowed something small and sweet and i could already see the gems in her eyes. she smiled too big for her face and told me to go have fun.
it didn’t take long for someone to offer me a pill of my own, and the last thing i remember before a tornado burst through my head and i was somewhere over the rainbow, was a boy whispering in my ear: “follow the yellow brick road.”
toto wasn’t here, and i knew we weren’t in kansas anymore.
collab with the wonderful rippedfishnets.