Fire Sign

When you ask me what I am afraid of
I hold out my hands.

You see, I am a body of cut lines
and gravel burn,

twice-read birthday cards, deleted emails,
gutter crawl.

I am unfiltered blood,
a collection of half-healed wounds,

a slick bathroom floor,
the predictable slipping hazard.

This body is taking up space;
it is guilt,

an empty womb that prompts your mouth,
a refusal that breeds the backhand,

a metal baseball bat hidden beneath the bed.
She is primed to crack bone,

is designed to dismember joints,
forged to wound.

This body is a dragging limb,
a nervous stagger,

dramatic slipped footing,
a body of impulse.

I am the burn of tobacco against a jacket lapel,
the smell of lampblack

and crows’ nests,
the poem I never wrote you,

a heart line fading
from the skin.

JESSICA SABO is a poet and former ballerina whose work focuses on the intersection of eating disorders and trauma. Her poems have appeared in Anti-Heroin Chic, Rogue Agent Journal, and Coffin Bell Journal, among others. Jessica’s work has been anthologized with ChannelMarker Literary Journal and Adelaide Literary Magazine, and is forthcoming with Damaged Goods Press. In 2020, Jessica was named a finalist for the Adelaide Literary Award in Poetry and was a semi-finalist for a Brooklyn Poets Fellowship. She currently lives in Orlando with her wife and two senior rescue dogs.