|Featured Poet -
Taylor Emily Copeland
Taylor Emily Copeland is a poet from Eastern
Pennsylvania, now living in New Jersey. She is the author of two
chapbooks: "Caffeine kisses and long sleeves" and "Monarch", both
available from Maverick Duck Press. Her poems have recently appeared
in Melancholy Hyperbole, Hobo Camp Review, Thick With Conviction and
Chantarelle's Notebook. She is a four time Best of the Net nominee
and also was nominated for Best of the Web. She reads obsessively,
likes pink things, drinks too much coffee, drives aimlessly and
falls in love too easily. She is unashamed of all of it.
Taylor Emily Copeland
Upon approaching 28
I shed people like work clothes -
each one falling to the carpet,
immobile, silent - find peace
behind a wall of words.
I am not creased yet. My eyes
still brown bulleted focus.
I could look twenty three for
a while longer. I could count
the remaining beats of my heart.
When someone asks me what its like to kiss another girl
It tastes like cotton candy, feels
like hot air pushed through a vent.
It smells like sangria steeping on
a formica counter in the summer and
will get you just as drunk if you
finish the pitcher, but you have to
finish the pitcher. It feels like
silk sheets on shaved legs, it aches
like a snow covered branch in the winter,
but you happily break.
My purse is a death sentence
It is not a shield.
It cannot deflect your fists,
your bullets, as I stumble
punctured to the cold sidewalk,
my face turned towards piled
snow flecked with soot.
I blink and see car lights
stream down the road -
one after the other.
My bank account is in your hands.
My face is alive in your pocket.
I open my mouth to breathe,
to ask for help -
nothing spills out but
the taste of iron,
the beginnings of stillness.
He asks about the scars on my body
I tell him that the one on my stomach
is where they excavated the blackened
pieces from me, told me I could still
breed. The one on my big toe - a broken
bottle stuck in sand, age 13. I cried
like someone knifed me, my blood spilled
like model paint on a tan, lumpy canvas.
The pinked line on my hip was trickier.
His finger traced it over and over,
maybe looking for a piece of evidence
left from the ocean. "How do you have
a heart attack and gash your hip?"
I tell him that I sank like debris, a
broken shell must have pierced me as I
let go of air and life. "Did you want to
give up?," he asked. I do not answer.
Another campus is on lockdown today.
Three more guys looking to exact
some kind of revenge, or just trying
to scare someone. As it turns out,
they carried pellet guns, not hunting
knives, shotguns or pistols. Today,
no girls would get blamed for the
length of their skirts. They will be
able to drive home safely from Abington,
maybe stop at a Starbucks on the way
and pick up an iced latte and sit outside
in the sun. No girl will have to shake at
the sight of their lifeline pouring out
from her chest, from her stomach.
Today, no girl will have to fear that
she will be pinned down and thrust with
an unwanted boy's rage. Today, all of us,
including me, can exhale. Until tomorrow.