Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review


it’s june:

i am where i’m from —

8 dead cats later,

buried in the yard of a house i drive by

whenever i can bear it

& my sweet dog 

doesn’t follow me through the woods 

unless heaven is real. 

they left me & i left 

myself splattered on the pavement,

spilling over the side

of the wall that separates 

the beach from the park, i’m hooked on a fence

i tried to hop and got

stuck on

you tell me the smoke

is gonna kill me, because for you it is simple:

if a building was burning you’d

jump out the window but 

my father kisses me with dragon breath. 

i am a sequoia & my roots

run deep:

i remember when they knocked me out. 

i swallowed the astroturf and then threw up 

behind the net so

i still think death tastes like burnt rubber 

the ER doctor said my brain was only bruised, 

not bleeding, give it a few weeks

& you’ll feel normal

that was seven years ago, i’m afraid 

the worst is over

& i’m no better,

the worst is over & i’m no better.

you tell me i’m not a sequoia, i’m your sunflower

& i don’t need an ax

to cut me from this town’s woodwork

but if i wasn’t birthed

& toughened by the flames

what was i? this is good damage

i’m not just damaged 

goods i swear i am also

the bubbles that came 

from my own pursed lips

when i was two and happy 

i am still cheering at the concert 

just another face in the crowd. 

the truth is when i got hit

in the head it didn’t change me

just blurred my vision

into clarity:

it took 7 years to wrap

my mind around the fact

that home is a feeling —

next time you ask me to come with you

i’ll get in the car

watch the forest melt to fields 

endless & inviting — country roads, take me home


Lucy Curtis is a fourth-year Creative Writing major from Beverly, MA. “damage” is the first poem in a series that centers on the concept of home — how it can be lovely and how it can be haunting. She has worked with COUNTERCLOCK Journal and has other pieces forthcoming in the Plum Creek Review.

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