Haley Brown

It comes in waves
Like billows of gushing lava
Running down my tightened throat
The visceral burning from a gulp of tea
Without the sweetness of honey

We used electric fences as tightropes
Cracking my back on the ground underneath
Felt painless in comparison to the
Lightning that shot up my spine when I stayed on

I saw fireworks when you touched me
Not the kind that light holiday skies
But from spark plugs and grease fires
And loose metal dragging behind a car

I feigned sleep
I thought my being unconscious
Would silence your conscious desires
That your matchstick fingernails
Would cease to search for ignition

Cigarette stubs burned the
Canvas of my writhing back
I would use barbed wire sponges
If they cleaned the trails of ashes off my skin

The sound of your beating heart
Helped me fall asleep as a child
But the sound of mine now
Only kept you awake

Haley Brown is a first-year student at Brandeis University. She needs poetry far more than it needs her: a loving, yet imbalanced relationship. She writes recreationally and out of necessity.