I lounge over these Victorian banisters while old family
secrets burst through every hinge in the house.
Gengangere ask me to bite my tongue but yell
at the blood on my chin and the splatter on the wood.
Tell me to go drown in the bleaching ponds like
too many before. Special friends and specimens
walk the walls, yet I’m the haunted and hysteric one?
I fold flowers into the attic’s paint and watch each
femme twirl. So free, so beautiful, so unalive–
waiting and writhing as if someone here cares.
I retire to velvet couches and cry Danskjävlar!
Let poison drip onto the respectable family’s
name and pretend to slam my door. Stroking
Lars, the too skinny and nippy Jack Russel,
I scheme and sigh out drafty window panes.
Something other than shame must exist; somewhere,
gardens are always green and fences stay open.
Somewhere, secrets sit in summer’s sunlight so
they can learn how to breathe. I dream of festivals
continents away and flowers on my crown–
outside of these wavering walls and so
free, so beautiful, so alive!
Laurel Reynolds (she/they) is a poet who attends the University of Minnesota for English Literature. Her work often explores the connections between queerness, pop culture, trauma, and relationships. In 2019, they competed at Brave New Voices for Minnesota and made it to the semi-final rounds. Laurel’s poems have been featured at The Tower, The Current, The Incandescent Review, and TruArtSpeaks. Check them out at laurelreynolds.com!