Hannah Schoettmer's writing has appeared in The Louisville Review, Glass: A
Journal of Poetry
, 24hr Neon Mag, and elsewhere. She lives in Los Angeles (USA).

Or Else I'm Going to Take It

I'm talking misnomers and burning
the whole place down. It's about
the firefighter-carry away from new embers
and the moon men taking their places

and how there's nothing left
to save. There's a song I've unwritten
since we last spoke. When I'm awake
again, I'll spell the whole thing out. I want

a nickname too. I want anything but what
we aren't. How did you dislodge
that nagging ball of white-hot spit
from your belly? How did you move

through the violence? I'm wising
up. I'm not quite sick of fighting. It's supposed
to be bullet points. I'm on the hayride
back home and I want you to meet

me at the border. Or I'll be in the storm
shelter where the redheads fist-fought
in middle school. It's been mostly
leaving town. I'm bulking

on creatine. I'm kissing
my biceps. I'm going to swing
that arm again. I'll put the fire out
this time. I'll fill in all the pushpin

holes. I'll dial the phone number
you slipped into the melody if you promise
to play back the message. I'm calling
across rooms. Come on, Hannah, call back. Please.

California Trail

I am going to the beach in August
and I am never coming back. I am tattooing
triangles of bikini over my nipples

and permanent eyeliner and Gorilla Gluing
eyelashes, mink. I am learning to backstroke
and painting my toenails, hoping to get pissed on

by a lifeguard after swimming into a lion's mane
only half on purpose. I am packing my towels
and cutting the tags off my flip flops

and mending holes in my wicker bag
with staples. I am checking my phone
to make sure I booked my cab to the beach

for the right date and time. I am counting
down the days. I am removing unsightly
warts and port wine stains with lasers

to ready my body for an endless game
of volleyball. I am a bare-assed beach bombshell
and a muscle-bound boyfriend and a picnic blanket,

a half-drunk iced tea and damp hair
and sex appeal. I am going to the beach in August
but right now, I am at my house. I am waiting

for you to pick me up. I am going with you now
knowing you will always stay inland.
I am lucky that I get anything to miss at all.


I'm finally sorry that I stole your boyfriend and the fat
lips and the khaki jacket, Girl of My Dreams. I flipped

through my dream journal and you were there, there
crawling up the walls, flipped over and back again,

payless and prettier than me. I'm feeding the children
lies. I'm scanning the code, coloring the digital menu,

intercepting a Christmas card and circling your face,
X-ing out your sisters as the women who aren't me. Greedy

for a glance in my direction. I wasn't wholly truthful
either. I wasn't not a whore. It's been five days since

I was flipped backwards on the couch. Celibacy,
now. I think back to that daylight up north

before you went back to New Jersey: I also have
a dark history of loving my English teachers

and anyone on Abilify. We are so much the same
in using our bellies to lie. With the man cut out

I have a you-shaped blank spot in this scrapbook
and I wanted to tell you that I remember now,

the conversation by the bathroom, flopped out
on the bed: everyone's crawling home

to somewhere. Girl of My Dreams I need you
to spit up. Sorry. Before my reformation

I put poison in your food.


It all runs from her hips to her mouth.
She's victorious. Nothing

else matters. She kisses and the kiss
is without idea. She drinks pineapple juice

and she drinks blood and she needs
to tighten up, she thinks. She takes a shower

at a boyfriend's with 3 in 1 shampoo
and it feels like a hand on her waist. She steps out

naked and covers the pockmarked idea of her body,
and she's jealous of the hair tie on the counter

before she remembers she owns it. She buys mangos
and lets them rot in a bowl. She keeps

mementos. She's been wounded by you.
She's writhing. She's assumed a certain violence.

All that's left she's pressing and rolling
in her fingers. Pushing up against,

dry humping, piling. She's pulling out
the pieces of glass. Patching up. She's moved

to tears. She's a voice in the phone. She's back.
She's stepping out of a picture frame. She's in

your living room. She's living in your walls.

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