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All My Herbs and Vegetables Have Sprouted Now By Grace Willis

All my herbs and vegetables have sprouted, now, with the exception of the peppers. 

I am only numb or else in a state of parasympathetic shutdown. Remembering 

four summers ago, the distance between West and Jefferson just over three miles.

I cried. I stumbled down the sidewalk, begging for love to answer on speed dial.

Remembering last summer on a friend’s bathroom floor. I cried. I called on repeat,

pressed a blue marble in the palm of your hand and begged: please don’t forget me.

At a punk show in St. Louis I confront my discomfort with uncertainty 

in worn-down bathroom stalls with peeling pink paint. Aesthetic nervousness 

and once again, I do not fit the space I float through. Dissociative body. I sweat. 

My body thrown against strangers in the pit like the door of the bathroom on Walnut,

summer of 2019. I laugh. Someone stage-dives and I take an accidental blow to the mouth 

but this time my lip does not bleed. Maybe the Fernet talks for me. Maybe this is safe. 

I drag a wooden desk, painted green, into the spare room. I plug in a lamp and light a candle.

My safety hangs in frays of nicotine and the potted plants by the window, shuffled by the hour

to catch the light. I hold my head in my hands and cradle the past like a pacifier. I cry. 

I laugh.

Grace Willis is a Midwest-based poet, writer and researcher. She holds an M.A. in Literature and Composition. Other works by Willis can be found in Novus Literary Journal and The Roadrunner Review.
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