Girl by featured artist Lora Mathis

      Independence Day

      Summer’s sweet rot creeps in when
      the carnival rides begin to shoot up

      like thirsty weeds. And children’s faces
      are sticky with rainbow sprinkles

      as they bike to the park, the damp air
      hanging thick with cotton candy sugar.

      The boy on your arm has green eyes
      that flash like a dizzy arcade. You sit on top

      of the Ferris Wheel, and hold your breath
      while he kisses rose petals into your neck,

      your sunburn shy beneath black bikini strings.
      You watch the fireworks from an empty dugout,

      his head in your lap. He is a Skoal can
      full of cherry stem knots and you are lying

      to your mother about where you’re sleeping
      tonight. You sneak into the abandoned

      funhouse after dark, sweat dripping hot
      off your chest. It sticks to the warped mirrors

      as he presses his body against yours.
      He loves you and you know this because

      he scrawls your name across the cracked
      jewel case of a mix-tape and holds your

      hand in the car. Your heart is a scrap
      of perforated tin. He is a junkyard

      of promise, and you are a morning
      glory, wilting under his open palms.


      She uses quarters to pay for shiny stacks
      of Cosmopolitan, hoards a handful of lace
      thongs at the bottom of the dresser drawer.

      She bakes her History teacher cupcakes,
      licks the frosting off the spoon, slips her
      phone number under the wrapper.

      She sits at the right study hall table,
      next to the navy blue football helmets,
      this season’s most expensive Ugg boots.

      She dates the boy who plays guitar, French kisses
      between AP Biology and AP Lit, shoves his back
      against the locker with her push-up bra.

      She won’t tell him about your basement
      party, how she wrote your research paper
      in exchange for a water bottle full of vodka.

      She giggles at all of your jokes. The ones
      about the angry zit on her forehead.
      How you think her nose is too large.

      She scribbles each calorie into a marble
      notebook, pinches the skin that hangs
      over the waist of her skinny jeans.

      She won’t tell how you pinned her wrists
      to the floor, bit her earlobes red, the threatening
      slew of text messages in the morning.

      She hides the cigarette burns under floral
      scarves, counts out six carrot sticks
      and places them in a brown bag.

      She stays back after class to ask the Health teacher
      hypothetical questions about assault, what if
      I was drunk? What if no one believes me?

      She makes you turn your headlights off
      then park the car three blocks away, tip-toes
      past her sleeping mother, locks the door behind her.


Chelsea Coreen

Chelsea Coreen is a poet/feminist/sparkle enthusiast. She has represented the SUNY Oneonta poetry slam team for three consecutive years, and her work has appeared in or is forthcoming in The Nervous Breakdown, The Legendary, GERM Magazine, and The Orange Room Review, among others. She released her first chapbook “Glitter Bomb” in March 2014, wants to be a movie star when she grows up.