by Carrie George
Carrie George is an MFA candidate for poetry at the Northeast Ohio MFA program. She is the graduate fellow at the Wick Poetry Center in Kent, Ohio. As fellow, Carrie works with visiting writers and teaches poetry workshops throughout the community. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and her work has appeared on Poets.org and in journals including sidereal magazine, The Emerson Review, Gordon Square Review, and Watershed Review.
Now I Know / That I Can't Make You Stay
I felt it when Gerard Way twisted his ankle filming in so much fire,
with bleached hair the shade of a too-long fingernail or dead face.
So when MJ had the idea of forming a band with just her dad’s old electric guitar
and all the words boys used to bury us further into our still unknowable bodies,
I knew an untuned throat would be the only thing to keep my teeth
from falling out all over the cafeteria floor. Would be the only
cliff to cling to as the shape of my body became more and more unwound,
bigger and bigger in the places most prone to gawking. Nobody told
Gerard Way how the swelling would form his foot to his boot,
how much purpler purple is in the skin than the lilac, the amethyst,
but at the time, watching the behind the scenes video from my family’s computer,
I knew he was breaking for me. Sometimes a whisper is enough to lure smoke
from a covered mouth. A sprain is burden enough to finally accept
the crutch we need. There’s nothing I can say to bring the red bass guitar
back to my hands, to unstretch the boot you filled, to reset the bones,
to refashion our girlhoods into less flammable agents, to undye our purple streaks,
to dull the sharps we hoped would cut our bodies clean. Even now
I don’t know how to watch anyone walk away, how to keep
my feet attached to the breath of myself
when so much of me would rather be ash.