I cut bangs with a razor in the shower,
dyed my hair black, then fire-engine red,
got angry in all the ways a teenage girl
knows how to. I didn’t mind if the stones
cried out for me, I was tired of crying
for myself. I let a boy into my bed,
counted his ribs with my fingers, woke
up with sour apple Burnett’s in my hair.
I got drunk off Jell-O shots on my eighteenth
birthday, went out on cobblestoned
streets in stilettos, yelled that I didn’t
need my roommate’s help to walk,
that I was Pentecostal, I went to church
in heels every Sunday. I read the Illiad,
inked its words onto my skin like armor:
I have seen worse sights than this.
I cut my hair short, then grew it out
again, got three piercings in my ears
and took them all out six months later,
cried myself to sleep the night I forgot
what book of the Bible comes after
Ruth. I shut the door on unrequited
love far too late, cracked a window,
thought of going back to Mississippi.
I spent spring break on an island,
eating fresh-baked bread, learning
to play poker, sinking my teeth
into the tender skin of oranges,
sucking out the juice. I went home
with a compass tattooed on my ribs,
wondered if it meant anything
that men don’t really have one less.
Anna Sandy is an MFA candidate studying poetry at Georgia State University, where she also teaches English Composition. She currently serves as the Editor In Chief of New South. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in SFWP’s The Quarterly, Santa Ana River Review, Sun Star, Muse/A, Nightjar Review, and others. She lives in Atlanta with her fiance and three cats.