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
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.