5 Poems

Caroline Rayner

crashed on the floor

i just sink
into coffee
& delirium
unique to surfing the internet
in a southern city––
never a social creature,
like the night i skipped the show
& peeled clementines
in my room.
i grew up
& brought little to the table
except behavior.
the ridge blooms
in virgo
& i weave gloom
like grass
between the ribs.
i scatter stitches,
my emotions,
i could not reconcile
community & land,
i could not take shape,
when i destroyed
the day
as the only syllable
i could believe.
when the river
the solstice,
i rinsed off
& grew branches
where i still hurt.
back home
my friend
an avocado
& we silently share
& i feel alive

spirit meets the skin

cusp of winter
& dead lotus rising––

i drag my twin bed halfway

for the mountain witch,

& screech.
home is

hollowed out,
a tiny planet

more catlike
than river,

& cut out
from the sky.

i took off my dress
because the world grew

while i was at school.

thin trapeze &
short sleeves

pinned to an apple tree
grown wild

in warm weather.
the effluvia––

birth, soil,
& marzipan.

it feels nice
it seems fair.

i squeeze out my hair
all over the grass

like red wine

the blue ridge.

i chase fauna
from my ribcage

so light shines straight through me.
how long until i die

& return as a cicada?
these pecan shell wings

dig like teeth
& i can’t afford

another good soaking rain
or spiritual collapse,

because finally i quit trying
to eat myself

bad bitches only

each morning
i crack my phone screen––
shake loose
the shards &
watch them snowflake
all over my backyard.
glass grows back
& perhaps
this is proof of reincarnation.
my past selves
cluster inside the moon,
talking shit about my recent selves.
i know this is true
because when i ask the moon
for instructions
regarding forgiveness
i receive a sea urchin,
& it stings me.
every night
i pray to my main queen
that the demons lose
all their teeth––
becoming less like cacti
& more like honey.
at night i cup my hands
full of orange juice
to protect
against curses
& haters.
nicki minaj taught me
how to be a nightmare
& a pink star,
i love my sisters
so what else do you
want from me


take your fresh flowers
home because i want
to wear black dresses

loose enough
& the vibe is
mary-kate olsen

& i mean
have you
seen pictures?

our galaxy
can’t quit
making enemies

& i feel terrified
just listening
to rihanna

throwing shade
& becoming
an angel

without leaving
my pink room.
haters, up late

watching tv
& outside i break
when i plant

trees & pretend
to crash
like the ocean

still swollen
in a little ball
& telling my friend

how i woke up
scraped out
& how i smoked

fear of the future
down to the glitter.
she pours wine––

reflection of the sky
blushing early
like i do

when i bend
in a rainbow.

both my wrists
& i get my way,

humid forever,
ideal for fucking
or running up

the mountain.
ginger goes bad
& still i give

everything i can
& still i defend
my moon

& still i talk
& i feel bad

standing outside
the hardcore show,


i was developing film in the river
as the big world
& braided
like the myth––
local spirits
among butterflies,
turning men
into trees.
still he told me
this was a dream
& i could not
the membrane.
i asked,
what is enlightenment
without phone service
& he said karma
sings in the choir
& he loves the music,
he loves
the looping.
our piano flooded
because our bedroom flooded.
i tried baking
until stone fruit season
made me
i bought succulents
like i knew
what the kitchen
green tea brews
& brews
because i let it.
i hate the earth

Caroline Rayner is a poet from Virginia who currently lives in Western Massachusetts. She is an MFA candidate at UMass-Amherst as well as assistant poetry editor for Cosmonauts Avenue. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Alien She, H_NGM_N, Witch Craft, Shabby Doll House, and elsewhere. Follow her on Twitter & Tumblr.