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February 3, 2023 Poetry


Gabrielle Griot

Aftercare photo

There’s something unbearably endearing
about Pepto-Bismol in its retro European
packaging, like if I were to throw up

at least it would be high femme
and laced with root beer and peppermint,
not just bismuth and bile.

My father and I bond
over a shared love for vintage product labels.
When I move overseas his eyes light up

and he asks how I like the supermarket,
all the foreign brands. When you say my name
in bed all I hear is abstract terror. Cursive G’s

half-baked and gnarled, shrunk down
to base ugliness. If I can shrink
into something then I can contain it.

Containment is important.
I let a man twice your age take me home.
In the sake-bombed shelter of three a.m.

the solace feels like it might stretch on forever.
Cosmo says there’s some kind of contract,
which is reassuring, a sort of mandated kindness.

When my first lover pinned me down
I asked him to tell me he hated me,
every little thing he hated about me.

I knew he didn’t love me
but the contrast felt like almost.