My belly is a contortionist
and the result is not that of a crystal sky.
The opposite, in fact: my skies are streaked
red with the tide of the dawn.
I have been a woman many years
and this wrath is universal.
My blood tangos with scarlet paint
of some of the best self-mutilators.
This invention called Tylenol
mixes in my veins, but is as frank as water streams.
Do not call the doctor for his drug,
for he is a mannequin posing as a savior.
Each student – or most I should say –
moved their jaws under the pressure
of popularity and cafeteria politics.
The cheer squad’s fists were supplemented
with ringlet curls and taut thighs,
while I wore peas in my hair
like so many digits of flung pearls.
But my opinions were not pulled
from my peers or my mother.
I grabbed them from my lice’s tenement.
I was a freak in the hallways,
my strings cut from rebellion,
a satellite prone to tears
and not employed to their pink cruelty.
What good are you to me?
With your stethoscope like a medal.
Your questioning was like under a bulb
and I wish your mother had used contraceptives.
In the traffic of our appointment,
your insensitivities proceeded like cruise control.
I may be as dumb as big eyes,
but to blot you out there only need be a plank.
Hide behind your hypocrisy of perfection,
but is your drug not a client’s weakness?
Excuse my verb and gutted tonsil,
but the cat is out of the bag.
They’re conversation is like street noise,
each mouth a trumpet from a stale flower.
At the cornerstone the high heels
click in unison, in lines, in droves
when prompted by the parallel machines.
I smoke my cigarettes made of goodwill
and use the weather for tips on chitchat.
I read the advertisements in zebra newspapers
and have discarded the food of sameness people obey.
The crowd only has strength in multiplication, not IQ.
They are clones of one another
and procreate like sheep who live indoors.
My mind suns itself on the sill,
but it travels to Aruba in the webs of winter limbs
and the ghosts of ostracism are evident in adulthood.
Sometimes gravity feels like a fatal pull.
If I were on the moon,
where all my gothic nectar
could be released to the blackness,
I could walk without bondage
or remorse for failings as an earthling.
When logic is sewn into me,
I am pregnant with the knowledge
that I am golden with purity.
But those steps in space!
How they would erase my yearning
for liberation from my own corset.
Amanda Tumminaro lives in Illinois with her family. Her poetry has appeared in Hot Metal Bridge, Squawk Back, Digital Papercut, Oddball Magazine and Freshwater, among others. She has also been nominated for a Best of the Net Award in 2015 for her poem “Scenes at Puget Sound”.