To Your Health
Blood gets thicker in the mouth, mixed
with all the spit and the salt and the lies.
In my sink, blood tells lies:
This is from when I got into a fist-fight
with my serotonin. My serotonin won.
This is from when I swallowed every shattered
secret I am still keeping to this day.
This is from when I lost any wisdom I had,
and my wisdom teeth.
Blood never wants to tell the truth, not even
in the mouth. You cannot tell the truth with
just your mouth. You cannot beg for forgiveness
with just your mouth. I am begging for
forgiveness with driftwood teeth, a swollen
pink roof, a tongue like a land mine, hands
that wring too much decay into the world,
a spine that has so much in common with
barbed wire. I am begging for forgiveness
with everything I’ve got attached to me
and it’s still not enough.
But please, forgive me. Forgive me for not
treating my mouth like a cathedral the way
I should have. My mouth is so busted down
these days; in not taking care of it I have
vandalized myself. I have taken the can
of spray paint and written DO NOT ENTER
for every potential lover to read as they
lean in for the first kiss. I have been talking
to myself in a blood language. I have
been lying about everything. So here is the truth:
My mouth never gets a second chance.
My body never gets a second chance.
Depression baptizes you in negligence.
The aftermath of this is full of swamp and marsh.
This is not me begging for forgiveness from the world.
This is me begging for forgiveness from myself.
By Lydia Havens
Lydia Havens writes and lives in Tucson, Arizona. A part of the literary non-profit Spoken Futures, her work has previously been published in Drunk in a Midnight Choir, Words Dance, and Textploit, among other places. In March 2015, she was named the Women of the World Poetry Slam Youth Champion. You can find more of her work on Tumblr, southwestwitch.tumblr.com, or on her website, lydiahavens.weebly.com.