by JAX HELMICK
I’m staring straight into the Sun, and it’s staring back at me,
Neither of us have gone blind yet—
I’m throwing salt out of my windows, towards the roads
Slicked with ice and snow and run off from gutters;
I watch as someone spins out.
(The Sun hasn’t melted any of it.)
(I think it’s been too busy staring back at me.)
This space that my parents left carved out for me
Is haunted by something resembling who I was.
It isn’t much of a room anymore, is it?
(I wouldn’t even call it a shell at this point)
I measure myself against the doorframe,
I’m taller than I was at twelve years old;
This doorframe doesn’t feel like a doorframe anymore either,
I don’t know if I would even call it a shell of one.
It’s too hot in this room—even in the winter—it’s stuffy in here,
I’m about to start punching holes in the walls
Just to air it out;
There’s not much to breathing when you think about it.
There are just hands wrapped around my throat
(I don’t know when I placed my own there).
I lose control of my car’s back wheels on the road just north
Of my own house, I’m begging to go back for an hour.
But even there doesn’t feel like a home anymore—
Me and my insatiable appetite have taken up all the
Discount pastries and youthful freedom,
Swallowing them whole, stripping myself of relief.
The Sun has gone away now—my eyes are locked on the popcorn ceiling,
It’s white and uneven, I think I hate it
Without having any reason;
Phantom hands drag their cold, cruel fingers along the
Small of my back—
I can’t breathe like this.
The clocks are flashing at me as if to tell me
‘It’s too late to go out now’,
I ignore them, I pocket my keys and I leave.
I take 28th and I take 30th and I take 30th and I take 30th
And 30th ends.
I’m on some highway with some stupid name,
It would usually make me laugh but I can’t remember the
Someone tore something out of my chest,
Someone scraped something out of my guts,
Someone rid me of all feeling.
There’s a divide growing in me now—
It started with the cracking of my lips and
Then cracking open my ribs and it
Kept pulling me open wider and wider and
Now this wedge is driving itself between you and me
(It’s taking up the space I tried to save for your hands).
I am taller than I was at twelve years old,
I’m just as tall as I was when I moved out,
But I still feel the growing pains—
Everything is changing, all of this shit is shifting.
Maybe that isn’t poetic,
Maybe it isn’t specific.
I’m being cracked open, much like an egg on a Sunday morning,
I will make someone breakfast someday. (Maybe this is becoming.)
JAX HELMICK is a third-year student at CU Boulder studying political science. While Jax is pursuing a degree in political science, they have a strong passion for writing—specifically for poetry. They hope to one day publish a poetry book.
IAN HALL is a Senior studying Anthropology and Media Production. This is his fourth semester on journal staff and second non-consecutive semester as the Editor in Chief. His summers are either spent at home in Texas or working as a Ranger for the National Park Service.