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Rubble, Astrid Bridgwood

I am apocalyptic & I am the end of the world but my mother says I’m sick again

Born shaking with rage, insatiable. Laugh in your face. This delicate autopsy:

Portrait of Girl as an Atom Bomb. I ring in cacophony like Cassandra’s heir.

There is no room to devour, stomach acid lit bright to burning. My reflection holds

A gun in my mouth tells me Pay Attention! Swallow. Body a system of messages

I live knife-edged, the gasp before wave’s crest and crash, before Girl is just Bleeding.

Another ghost in this bathroom’s broken mirror. Knot flesh under my palms

Like Absolution, like I can wring sin from my own shoulders so sweet.

Smile like sharp-edged dawn, we were just kids with too much time on our hands.

I walk home like melted rubber. Something man-made is here: the pig-stuck shame

Corked in me. This is not a place of honor I lay awake in bed, every morning bleeding

Like a slaughterhouse pistol-whip steady waiting at the door. Kill anything that moves.

This place is best left shunned I live in my skin like a tomb, tell each boy welcome

To the trenches. There are dreams where I drag this legless body through red mud

Wake up sweat-stale to dark showers. Trauma lives in the body, a warning about danger.

Gunpowder lights my intestines, anger sits in the gut and festers. I am a good solider

Girl-life a war, all sin original in this landscape of thorns. My father told me chin up:

All the devils are here. Safety like mythic ritual, the danger is still present the danger never left.

I crack the window and slip through like summer-wind, meet a boy whose neck I snap

Call it victory and go home with wet teeth. Congratulations, Caesar! There will be no Ides.

Portrait of a Girl as Retribution as Reckoning, Girl as a Landscape best left uninhabited.


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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