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Five Poems, by Kailey Tedesco

this old house as something still blooming

such dust — these dandelion seeds orb my vision cobwebbed. optometrists say if i see lightning or spiders or anything haunted my retina will tear & i may lose sight instantly for now it is loose sight i say to myself; it is nothing; nothingsight a ghost story in itself let me tell you about my favorite genres as a child my pet newts became loofas & i worried i did it to them with my asthma like the airlack of me covered their small bodies in enough filia for them to float even in their lake-burial i’d like to be buried in the lake, too; i’d like for my grave to be a lost & found; i’d like my grave to be a dollhouse replica of this memoryhaus i’m building from scratch how many death wishes can i have while still fearing death anyways, genres i love horror & that’s why i want you to put me in the walls let me lose sight for lack of anything to see just dark just some campy print of purple lemurs mixed with holly berries i’ve only been told i’m going to hell once but many times purgatory i take back my baptism anyways let me go where i’d like

this old house as gushblood

everyone clowns ;;; wide-lipped, a cyst on me not mine bursts blood unmenstrual no mooning whatsoever, no miming, no teardrop open mouth with no sound i hope to ghost in this way, curve my breaths loved-one shaped, become something i’m not the first house of my life, my father clowned in conehead my mother clowned graveyard shift i clowned downward toward the carpet with dog, clowning thirst everything bleeds out over time & i’m here to stop it ;;; i cauterize where possible not with fire, but legend then ritual where there is house there is a sort of god the second house of my life held real clown birthdays & teeth stained from milk meals, past age i’m milkstain & woman thanks to the gushblood i live in castle turrets made of candle wax they say she witches, she claws, she cauls, she clowns ring the doorbell ;;; you’ll drown

this old house as an afterlife for something

with its single cathedral window we build our chapel of cardboard. the dirt floor murder- traces the length of me & there next to me last year’s easter palms retching with dust. remember the animal on the roadside, so rotted; a new species of beast. we gathered for its funeral, three of us, & we grave-marked with remains of china spewing the lawn. ticks & cabbage roses both corkscrew from flatware & carcass in search of living hosts, tongues ready-wet with the memory of blood. our flower crowns ached unto us with false prophecies, made my head spin to glass, gouged & wounded. death delivers me callouses & hangnails, blooming dewclaws all down my achilles. much later, we knew it was a possum that we buried, perhaps the queen of them & we wondered how the earth must starve itself gagwards when fed the arms and legs of its own milk.


under your cheek it’s all blood & i see it. by the lake so dry, you cart me through the forest in nursery rhyme. tonight i am either precious zirconia or go far from here else find my heart pieces, boxed. childhood friend of mine, i take you to the abandoned campers full of golden junk we love with every carotid artery in our one-day bodies. you’re-not-my-real-mom beats me upside the matted curls with a tooth-comb. for the umpteenth time, fear not – mayday is soon & the dancers surely will spike my cranium with ribbon. anxiety is all mine through hereditary trauma. now my very heartbeat is the name bloody mary & my very corneal tear is a mirror with glass shatter to the hundredth decimal point. the wrong time portal has me sutured to its under-belly & this is not the natal chart i came with. tuck me into the beautiful gross of my own leg bruised against the bath ledge, purpling bed of lilies spirographed. once i’ll live in a future corpse, rotted to a pile of improperly laundered delicates. that’s right; i’m made of lace & that night on the cart you storied me about ghosts so hard they black-magicked my retinal cavities. bow down bones of you; i am an afterlife for at least one small thing. unmothering as an attempt at good works is what you should call it when you speculum your mouth & all kinds of new genus roses fall out.


this state of wet pennies mossbeds my footpads i wishing well myself through it ward off you behold dead relics i lit my candles in the evening already it is time to hail grandmothers’s green lady the painting of self in mossshade & framed she says i was not thinking of ending my life just leaving the kitchen just sleeping alone in the moss staining my skin the same shade of green as this paint & everyone balked & everyone swarmed & everyone sang secretly as i did nothing is secret i like to sleep woodtucked, too in need of bloodwork but it autocorrects to bloodworm & so it shall be & so it is my veins oozing with pest i lament not becoming the witch sooner i’m collected on the germanic hill a rag doll heap a real pile of doze we chant until our mouths seep & our mouths drool & our mouths fill with silk fans from some parlor of our pastlife just so our mouths become dusty articulate pastilles out come the moths out come the rats out come the oil lamps hung swinging from our teeth they’ve hollowed us out made waxdolls grandma’s still sleeping by mirror lake clutching rosary can you imagine a lake of mirrors i’ve always hoped the bathroom vanity would pry for me wet with its tongues & in i’d drop & there, there i’d be
  • Kailey Tedesco is the author of She Used to be on a Milk Carton, These Ghosts of Mine, Siamese, and Lizzie, Speak. Senior editor at Luna Luna Magazine and a co-curator for Philly's A Witch's Craft reading series, she has work featured or forthcoming in Electric Literature, Fairy Tale Review, Bone Bouquet Journal, Black Warrior Review, and elsewhere.

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