“The Deep End” and “underbridge”

The Deep End
by Annalise Lozier

The sun bobbed in the sky
like a peach in the water. We sunk
below the surface and you
were the apex of a triangle. With the light
slicing past you, I was hidden
in your faded glow, a planet in the dusk;
and my fingernails, which my dad said
made me look like a homeless goth
looked to you like worn-down continents
hidden in the binding of an atlas. Your face
falls apart like tissue paper, dark purple
and melting in the past. I can never
really picture your nose and I can’t say
how often I’ve mistaken your smile
with the pointy chin of the man
in the moon, but your silhouette still burns
on my eyelids. You’ll be relieved to know
I don’t love you, cross my heart
and burn out my eyes. Your fingers
pushed through my chest
like it was so much dust, you tapped
the metal hatch to ask if anyone
was home, but there wasn’t--
it was only me and a few gray teeth.


   she had a face like sarcasm, her teachers said
   she scraped the paint off the walls
   when she skirted too close to the edge
   of the room
   under her shoulder blades she could pull
   back the muscle and untangle the tendons
   the tendons wrapped around her bones
   played with her joints like a rubik’s cube
                                        when she spoke she looked
                         towards the windows or at the wormy yarn
                knit its fingers into sweaters she laughed loudly
                      to cover the cracking sounds her spine made
                                 she laughed with her teeth bared
                                   she had a face like cherry pie
                              cherry-stained teeth from the juice
                           the juice that bled down from her gums
                             cherry pits carved holes in her eyes
   she liked the taste of her lips in winter
   the way the snowflakes melted in the stinging
   ridges of skin, she liked making animals
   from pipe cleaners
   under her eyelids she kept veiny webs
   watched them change colors
   in different types of light
   she gave up before the clouds
   the clouds crept by, she didn’t see them pass
                                 she didn’t mind how it crawled
                                     up her arms, how it burned
                                   she gave each red dot a name
                        she watched as darkness scared them off
           searched her body for scars she might have forgotten
                      she had, wanted outward proof in the form
                                  of locusts that all the wheat
                              the wheat was dead where it stood
   the tall grass shuffled its feet
   looked down at the ground
   warm toes tucked in dried manure
   it looked up at her with grainy eyes
   “you are the opposite of going somewhere”
   she dropped her breath out of school bus
   windows, let it unroll in the air
   the air that carved it into fractal shapes
   she reached out for it, but it didn’t come back
                         she had a face like a paper shredder
                       cheeks like birds’ nests or half-words
                       curled up like brittle plastic ribbons
                                  she tied the same blue bows
                  looked like they could paint constellations
     or sit on other planets, sometimes they told her the sky
         looked like octopus arms they said, “the difference”
                     the difference, she knew, was real stars
                                    always glowed in the dark
   she spent so long telling stories to pushpins
   when they fell, scattering her floor with faces
   like autumn leaves
   “man down” she whispered, peeling back
   the cork that let them go
   selfish like pushpins, a frame of zigzag corners
   held her life at angles like the breeze
   the breeze that skimmed over the hills
   knocking off their crowns of powdered sugar
   only like a rubik’s cube when she squinted
                  she could use her throat like a telescope
                      pull out her esophagus with her first
                  and second fingers, painted mermaid green
                  see down the endless row of people things
      like bicycles and corn, down the cross-stitched street
    she had a face like a caterpillar whose thoughts are wet
                  with milkweed and yellow stripes, the wind
                 the wind turned her eyes to disaster scenes
                    a desperate flurry of sunlight and seeds
                 a little monster with explosive white wings

Annalise Lozier is the second place winner in the 2016 Glazer Prize for Creative Writing.

Annalise Lozier is the second place winner in the 2016 Glazer Prize for Creative Writing.