November 2011 - Comments Off

Sestina (Gummo)

Julia Mounsey '13

In the backyard her mouth is full of marbles
Comes from a shaking throat down a stomach full of scars
I remember this through glass, my eye to a beer bottle
After I drank it and before I chucked it at the cat
It didn’t break though because of the grass
Thumped and bounced, little sound on a big brown Ohio

There’s a thing, a brown thing about Ohio
It’s nothing like throwing marbles
It’s more to do with lying in the grass
Like my mother’s stomach, it’s a state of scars
She birthed me and felt ruined so she got a cat
When I was old enough I killed it with a bottle

I knew a girl once who could fit inside a bottle
She was the prettiest girl in Ohio
But she was eaten by my mother’s cat
So I tried to make it swallow marbles
We fought and he won, left me three scars
Skinny like three red blades of grass

Whenever I lie down it feels like grass
I wake up in green like my friend woke up in a bottle
One time we counted all my mother’s scars
She wasn’t awake but she looked like Ohio
There on the bed with eyes like skin-wrapped marbles
No one saw us do it except maybe the cat

And I don’t think she ever found the cat
I split it somewhere in the tall grass
And I don’t think I ever found my marbles
I got sick of glass which was why I threw the bottle
Thumped on the ugly bottom of Ohio
Very deep and bad and busy with scars

There’s a thing, a funny thing about my mother’s scars
When you squint your eyes they look like the cat
Or they look like the shape of Ohio
I saw her in the yard once with a mouth full of grass
Trying to get her face inside a bottle
But that was before I threw the marbles

I know the marbles are good because they don’t make scars
I know the bottle is bad because it killed the cat
And I know there’s grass always – I stuffed it in the bad wet mouth of Ohio.

Julia is from New York City. She likes Harmony Korine and Adventure Time.

Published by: in Audio, Poetry, Volume 68

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