Author: Chelsea Coreen

Chelsea Coreen is a poet, feminist and sparkle-enthusiast from upstate NY. She released her first poetry chapbook Glitter Bomb in 2014 and her work has been published in The Nervous Breakdown, The Legendary, GERM Magazine, and Words Dance magazine. She is the co-founder of The Uninterrupted Project with Lily Myers. They are currently touring high schools and colleges promoting self-love and positive vibes to young women.

Two Kids with Cancer

Veronica discovered the tumor while she was trying on prom dresses. She had spent the day at the bridal shop with her mother, and was entirely exhausted with being pinched and prodded by the fitting room attendants, being asked to turn around this way and that way and tilt her chin and push back her shoulders. She zipped up the back of the final pink pastry gown and as the fabric tightened around her stomach, she collapsed on the floor of the dressing room.

None of us liked Veronica much, but when we found out she had cancer, we crowded around her boyfriend’s locker, salivating for gossip. It was lymphoma (gasp), and most-likely curable (sigh), but she was going to lose all of her hair (ohmygodcanyouimagine). The student council made tee shirts with a picture of her face across the front and we all wore them to school. Veronica’s boyfriend buzzed off his hair, and she was voted Prom Queen, of course. You can’t not vote for the girl who has cancer.

One day, a group of girls set up a table in the lunch room and collected donations. They wrote her a check, to help with the cost of chemotherapy. During the summer, after she had been cured, she was drunk at a bonfire and told us she used the money to buy a new iPhone. Some people were mad, and some people laughed.

Jerry was in our grade too. He wore the same grey teeshirt every day. No one spoke to Jerry, so we didn’t know about the cancer that ate his brain. No one knew until he was dead.

The Theory of Everything

A stranger called me beautiful
so I nicked my shin with a razor
in the shower. The drain is full of blood again.         
I am writing your name in the red             
with my toe. I met the stranger at a bar
and he was uglier than I remembered          

he didn’t look like you           
but I pretended.
I watched a movie about Stephen Hawking
and how his wife would climb on top of him                        
even when his body was a scrap heap,
his chin collecting drool.
And through the whole movie I imagined      
us and how I would follow
you into a black hole and let it spit us back
in time to the part when we didn’t exist.                        
How I would spoon feed you blueberries
and clean up your vomit if it meant you’d stay.

In the movie you left me for a redhead
and I’m still jealous of that bitch.

The Last Night

Your teeth were wild chandeliers.
and your fingernails glowed tiny and silver.
and your mouth was hot wax,
spilling all over me.

Three Girls Named Allie

One wore hoop earrings and tied back
her bleached mane in a high ponytail.
She had a boyfriend who drove a motorcycle
to school. Once she showed up
to English class with a black eye
and said she fell down the stairs.
I believed her.

One had six pairs of Uggs
and a monogrammed Coach purse.
She threw ragers when her parents went away
to their summer house in Montauk.
Once she drank my vodka and went to third base
with the boy I had a crush on.
I called her a slut.

One wore fake eyelashes and Vasoline
on her teeth. She took dance lessons
at the same studio as me. Once she overdosed
on oxys in the girls’ bathroom, then another time
on heroin, and then she died.
I forgot her real name.

The Ruins

I keep having nightmares about the dog.
The one I killed. It was an accident.
It was raining
I wasn’t paying attention.
I called you from the car
and hung up before you answered.
I know how much you love dogs.

At work I take care of an autistic boy
who looks too much like you.
The same candy-dish teeth,
the sling of freckles across the bridge
of his nose. He likes to play the drums
too, and stick his hands into the dirt
and pluck up worms like you do
when you take acid. He can’t speak.
I ask him questions
and say the answers I want you to say.
Am I so terrible?
Will I really die alone?

Your brother was dying, you said.
Your lips were ice-blue
and your eyelashes were dirt
and there were so many bees
in your mouth when you told me to go
the fuck home, just get out of here.
Because I would never understand something real
like a dead brother but I tried to. I really did.
And later you threw gravel until I wasn’t asleep
anymore and your hands were perfect and numb
and I tried to understand. I really did.