POEM: Angelica Whitehorne

Maybe I Am Just a Vessel?

for my digital self. My mind filled to the brim with
selfies and retweets, I pay for more space.

I keep an ordered list of what I am on the photo grid
and remind my friends again and again what I stand
for with just my fingertips. My mouth opened only
to gulp air, my ass firmly planted on my desk chair.

Maybe I only eat to capture my recipe. Sleep to
wake up to more follows. Walk to new places to tag
those places in my posts.

Maybe I am only breathing to type up critiques
about humanity for others to scroll past. Or post
an infographic about menstruation and loving all
bodies and saving the planet, when in real life
I get blood on my hands

and curse my womanhood and throw the pad in the
trash. At least in this cyber life, I can be glamorous.
I leave my pain and dirt in this placeholder’s reality.
I separate myself from her so completely that
my digital queeeeen, powerful and symmetrical,
wouldn’t recognize herself on the street.

I put a filter on this stained life, on this tragic
complacency to history, blend out the lines
under my eyes to tell the people who are clicking
for courage, that life gets better, adding an
upbeat Giphy sticker.

I am good at this and only this, blending out my bad
sides in 8.5 by 8.5 inches wide, leaving out my
undesirable so that when this failing flesh relents,

only my edited quotes will be left to speak for me.
And my last wish is that you will scroll heavy
hearted (and still a little jealous), through my
perfectly crafted everlasting.

Angelica Whitehorne is a writer from Buffalo, New York who has published or forthcoming work in Westwind Poetry, Mantis, The Laurel Review, The Cardiff Review, North Dakota Quarterly, and Hooligan Magazine, among others. Besides being a devastated poet, Angelica is a communication specialist for a local refugee and survivor organization. She is also currently writing her first novel, so wish her luck.

Photo by Agê Barros (Unsplash).

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