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Hometown Paradise, Astrid Bridgwood


A sign on the left. A post half-rotted

Another neon prophet screaming JESUS SAVES

Across the street, a motel. A girl slumped with exhaustion

shaving her head loosely. Arms whimpering with effort

she can barely stand. Half-alive in the sun, skinny

Light masking dark-spotted teeth. She sees me, grins

White-lit like an angel. She: bent over a shovel

grave-digger steady. JESUS SAVES reflected in her face

In the used-limp veins gone blue-white, shivering with sweat.

Hair falls, scalp peeling scabbed she’s still smiling

and here’s death, here’s death here’s God.

A rush of heat. Traffic pulls me forward. Blink and

she’s gone.

Astrid Bridgwood is a nineteen-year-old poet from North Carolina whose work has been described as 'visceral and frightening.' You can find her featured in Ember Chasm Review, All Guts No Glory Mag and Anti-Heroin Chic Mag, among others; most recently, she was a semifinalist for the 2021 James Applewhite Poetry Prize. Follow her on Twitter @astridsbridg.

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