Breadcrumb #372

JD DEHART

Let me dress,
that thread you pull,
let me weave it
and wind it up,
like a spinning top,

Please say it's
my color, please compliment
me.  I try to stand on my
own two feet but I slip
my teeth across kind words,
how they fill me.

I'm just another restless
voice looking for someone
to say, Well said.

I still have my wisdom
teeth, but I lack the wisdom
to stop dressing up,
to stop my stage-prancing
vocalizations.

The performance continues
until I'm tired
of the masks and all.

• • •

Breadcrumb #370

JOSHUA LINDENBAUM

We look side to side like we’re being booked into prison,
and we are.
But it’s not our fault:

it all started when we were taught to look both ways when crossing the street.
Look left, and then right
so you stay safe.

Next came you turning to your friend to ask
“what’d you get on the test?”
Next came you looking at your body in the mirror,
measuring it with media’s ruler
Next came you weighing yourself against your sibling
Your friends
And as you get older,
your younger self.

Comparisons is the everyday person’s assessment:
a high-stakes exam
where test anxiety is inevitable,

but I choose to opt-out.

• • •

Breadcrumb #369

ERIN TAYLOR

"you were not meant to thrive here.”
she told me, as she put out her cigarette.
                         her teeth are piling in the corner,
                         they’re yellowed and brown
                         with nicotine.

               my baby teeth are piling by the stove,
               a reminder of why she is here.

we eat spaghetti for the fifth time this week,
we sweat. we burn.
                       one hundred degree oklahoma heat,
the air conditioner stopped running two summers ago.

I am panting on the sidewalk,
outside the crumbling house.

          in the spring time, whirling winds take the chosen away
          far from                                    here,
          yet in the summer we all burn under the scorching light.

• • •

Breadcrumb #368

OLIVIA POWERS

I help myself to you
in the morning
in my mind

Mimic the downward slope of
your throat, the pads of
your fingers
your breath

I cannot remember
your words, only the ones
I’ve repeated so often
they come back in
my own voice

Round like from the end of
an empty toilet paper tube
held up to
my mouth, then up to
my eye, slicing life into a circle

I like it like that
A clean picture
Smooth edges
Cardboard cutting crisp
into the soft skin around
my eye

I can feel the boundaries
thrown, then
four inches out, like
a shadow puppet to the wall

I can turn my head and
redraw the frame, sand the corners
from a fresh picture and never see
the shavings fall.

• • •