sleep paralysis on the night of midsummer, Kailey Tedesco

i slept fretful, something awful. there’s still a goose-egg on my forehead
from my falling days. good morning from the mezzanine; the whole

house shatters from its own falsetto. or soprano. i could never know
the difference. bela lugosi had clara bow painted naked, but without

asking her to pose. he had a painter paint her naked from how he imagined
she might look. if he wakes from the dead, do tell me. i, for one, would

like to see it. for now i ask my grandmother to paint me as a green lady,
like she is. i tell her how i don’t have to pose green in front of her;

she can just imagine it. i want so badly to look like i come from a place
of costumes. satan himself knots into the woodgrain, so felted in red

& masked in feather, you might confuse it all for jest. i gallow my hair
up into pigtails, ready to see if i float or drown. i could wear a witch-

hat, but it wouldn’t make a difference. it’s midsummer now —
a time for faucet drips and catholicons. you don’t have to see me in a gown

to know that’s how i’ll always be. when the sun does set, i might go
with it. regardless, there will be showtimes & there will be cinema. there will be

pictures to choose from & i’ll just hate all the faces of my life reduced
to that final one. probably my wedding day. probably smiling by the dark

that’s eaten up the gingerbread house. probably an orb stalking my chest, like always
and forever. if i’m going to be looping through myself like this & having myself

to hold like this for something like eternity, please don’t
forget to make me something green.

*

Kailey Tedesco is the author of She Used to be on a Milk Carton (April Gloaming Publishing). Her collection, Lizzie, Speak, won White Stag Publishing’s 2018 poetry contest, and her newest collection, FOREVERHAUS, will be released from White Stag in 2020. She is a senior editor for Luna Luna Magazine. You can find her work featured or forthcoming in Gigantic Sequins, Electric Literature, Nat. Brut, Black Warrior Review, Fairy Tale Review, Bone Bouquet Journal, and more. For further information, please follow @kaileytedesco.

Kailey Tedesco recommends “After my Mother’s Death, I Become a Witch” by Sarah Nichols.

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