Dirty

Written by Gabriella Troy
Art by Muffin Creatives


In the end we’re only dirt.
We cake each other’s arms
with smears of tears and promises,
with little scars that no one sees
but no one forgets.

This earth is a tether, and forever
I’ll tidy your distraction and detritus,
roll my eyes and make you breakfast;
you’ll hug me when I lose heart,
hate me just a smidgen and weave stories
to fill my silence.

You’ve seeped into my flesh
and I’m a ring of freckles upon yours,
but our love isn’t quite symbiotic.
You’re a condition of my survival
and I’m the benefactor of your success.

After our dreams have blossomed and withered
and our ashes are scattered together
on the wind, we’ll tangle in the skin
of another and dirty their beginning
with the science of liability.

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Butterscotch

Written by Gabriella Troy
Art by WikimediaImages


Butterscotch sticks
to the passenger seat
of my grandfather’s car;
I drove it last summer
when you got lost
down at the beach party.
I vacuumed up the sand
and sprayed away the salt,
but your candy melts into the leather
and burns–
I want to throw open the hood
and declare a broken part,
but it’s not my car
and I’m barely scraping by
with these sugared edges.
I’m entirely spent over you
yet I keep taking loans from my sensibility
and paying interest in golden wrappers.
I am so achingly sick,
but I always take two butterscotches
from the therapist
and save one for you.

Lavender Daydream

Written by Gabriella Troy
Art by Ekaterina Bolovtsova


Lavender wafts like a burst of flame,
then settles as a crown
on my hair, highlighted honey.
A dusting of sun surfaces
every time my fingers
weave through the strands
and twirl a handful
toward my nose.
Just a hint of warm flowers
sends me twirling
in the backyard, just yesterday
with your hand in mine,
when the wind carried nothing
but sweet lavender.
Our skin glistened gold
under the butter of cocoa
and I could wander wordless,
blissful in the peace
of shared thoughts.
Alas the flame dwindles
down the wick, and I sigh
into the saturated air.
I await tomorrow,
my melted memories
solidified anew:
lavender will glide.

Stressed Out

Written by Gabriella Troy
Art by energepic.com


A bubbling, insatiable pain
pierces my gut
and rings through my ears.
All I see are black scribbles,
smudges of coffee stains
and my snack from one
or five hours ago.
I am drowning and illiterate,
deteriorating under this mountain
of work and worry–
Why can’t I handle it all?
My friends are out dancing in glittering dresses
while my limbs droop listlessly,
my muscles shriveled like leaves.
My neighbors have relinquished
all responsibility to blast their music;
lyrics that I cannot decipher,
but a cacophony of noise
that squeezes my chest nevertheless.
I want to take a knife to my brain
and carve out this blinding ache.
I thought I was smart enough,
but here I am on my knees,
banging my head on the unswept carpet–
Why has my life turned out this way?
Please, just give me oxygen
and a little bit of light.
I don’t know how many more failures
I can grow from.

A Little Green Toxin

Written by Gabriella Troy
Art by Markus Spiske


There’s a little something green
growing just beneath my chest.
I water it every time I look at your dress
and hear the smile in your sing-song voice.

If only you were wicked,
it would wither away to dirt,
but now it has a stem,
and no one likes my color.

The shoot snags against my skin,
but it never reaches yours:
I am faulty scar tissue
and you are a golden-skinned newborn.

I thunder and it flowers
nasty shades of self-inflicted scrapes.
Its petals waft fumes
and I breathe greedily.

I need an exterminator,
but I want a whole garden.
My flowers will grow
and yellow my tissue.

Of course I get carried away
by your friendly wave;
my roots were too insecure,
so I sprout a better bud.

immobile

Written by Gabriella Troy
Art by Алекке Блажин


since you left
my mind lacks the agency
to make my limbs cooperate:
i am numb to everything exterior
to my agony
and my limbs are lifeless.

i cannot run
and scream the pain
out of my lungs;
i cannot walk
and find a warmer hand
to thaw my frosted fingers;
so i crash
amongst a turbulence of pessimism
and i cannot crawl;
i sprawl
in a jumble of bones
and i have never felt so heavy.

i do not know why i wait.
you were never a savior,
just a salve to my lonely despair,
so now i gape open red;
i must have relinquished agency
too long ago.

our blood always mixed
in a catastrophic rejection.
i stole from your organs
and you ripped your heart away,
so now i bleed,
and I don’t know how to stop–
i don’t want to stop
until I’m pure
white as bone.

maybe my place was always these cold tiles,
something softer to step on.
i would step on myself
if i could,
but my bones only rattle.

together and apart

Written by Gabriella Troy
Art by NEOSiAM


i.
your hand is calloused in mine
and i revel in its roughness:
you have a stable job
where you work hard
and I think
you will work hard for me too.

ii.
our hands are entwined
as we twirl in a field of daisies;
the world is tranquil around us
as we waltz to the same wavelength
of peace, of full breaths,
i am full of content.

iii.
i feel you by my side,
across the room:
you are rows of seats away
but your presence strengthens my voice
and my words radiate across the audience–
it is the best speech i have ever given.

iv.
i don’t expect you to be in every audience
because I can feel you in my mind:
all these warm memories brighten my cheeks
and I think I am a better person–
i step up in my company
and the future looks infinitely sunny.

v.
my best speech was so long ago
i hardly remember it:
i cannot see the pride in your eyes
or feel that jubilant inspiration of first success,
but i have come so far–
i know i am proud.

vi.
i thought i had become a strong worker like you
but it turns out i did not work enough:
i am never around
and i don’t need your help,
so your hand has slipped from mine
and found somebody else.

vii.
i lay in our field
but I cannot think:
there is clamor and cacophony
in the wake of my wavelengths alone,
so let my tears water
the tangle of weeds i have become.

viii.
my hand is wrinkled upon my other
and i despise its ugly flaws:
the lines cross and lack sense
in my unstable mind–
i am lost
and i wonder who i am without you.

Weeding Out the Weak

Written by Gabriella Troy
Art by Washarapol D BinYo Jundang


Energy pulsates through the vicinity in
lightning-quick streaks, with promises
of minty fresh lungs and
shots from out of the darkness.

Something wet trickles down,
heightening the senses,
inching through a knot of tiny legs and
infinite little particles.

The moisture pools,
the stolen molecules thrum in anticipation
of the vacuum that sucks suddenly
against gravity, toward the electrifying warmth.

Something is crumbling away, microscopically thorough.
Blue seeps through the shock of awareness:
this energy is brighter, more powerful,
tugging all greedy little fingers.

Yet two fingers tug hardest,
and the others wither away
with distant hope, not promised
such a successful surge.

What once crumbled has given way,
and life stabs into the cerulean light:
the earth births a king–
a tyrant, a weed.

death in the wild

Written by Gabriella Troy
Art by Romawi Namaasli


she is stuck in the dark musk of pine,
dusk sending shadows flitting across her vision—
she cannot tell whether her eyes are open,
whether the black and white spots
blurring, shifting, jumping,
are created by eyelids shut tight
against the nightmare of becoming lost,
or a narrow perception of shrinking:
hunger hollows her bones,
thirst seals her throat tight.

she must have had a voice once,
one that pleaded for lullabies
and sang in a chorus of youthful delight,
but all is silent in the solitude
of hardened moss and buried thoughts;
her body has laid down,
immobile as the forest moves on.

it is easy to be left behind in the face of adversity:
her sisters are better off without memory
of a ghastly face, poisoned
by recognition of worthlessness throughout.
her mother faced no reluctance
in deserting the runt of her prized offspring,
not when the fate of fewer
would be more comfortably bargained for.

now, at least she is prized by someone else:
a maggot crawls leisurely
through the last warmth of her furrowed brow,
and she knows he will be her last friend,
for this meat has too long been tainted
by something decaying deep inside.

Gripes in June

Written by Gabriella Troy
Art by Josh Hild


I sit in the window of a 40-floor office building,
overlooking traffic speeding off to nowhere.

It’s only been a few weeks without school
and the thrill of freedom has worn thin.

Rain splat-splat-splats to the pounding of my keyboard,
and I am so very tired of the dreariness of adulthood.

It’s not about my brains or quirky personality,
but sucking up enough for dollars that buy cup noodles.

Microwaved meals is one thing in a dorm full of raucous friends,
but a disappointing reality of solitude in the summer.

I’m wondering if this is what real life offers,
and if I should succumb to the possibility of winning the lottery.

I just want to go back to college and get a degree
so I can spend my afternoons emailing demands from the beach.

I promise myself that one day I won’t have so many complaints,
but for now just please let this rain stop drenching my young privilege.