Rachel Lauve "S.O.S."

S.O.S. (Shadow or Soul)


i. it begins with a twinge.
a repeated prick of the heart.

i double-check this feeling against the definition of
i lay the feeling and the word together
they become one.

i live with these pin pricks until i too am
just a pin prick.


ii. it continues with a twist.


my stomach contorts itself
as i catch my eyes
on a girl’s lips.
i hide my gaze
behind the shadows
my glasses cast
on my face.


i will first read the name “pablo neruda" in a book
that tells a love story about a boy and a girl.


i will buy a collection of neruda’s works for a girl
and wait for her reaction with
uneasy rumblings of my soul. 


iii. it builds with a crescendo.


i tell one person.
i need to bring my
cycle back to school with me.
i think i might be
sexual but i hear middle school voices
calling me a prude.
i know i am
romantic but surely the distinction doesn’t matter.
the part of this that matters is
and the bag of winds is opened.

i tell two people.
drop a quarter and see if they pick it up.

i tell one more.
don’t make it into a big deal.


i keep my heart hidden behind
the shadows of my ribs and flesh.

the pin pricks go straight through
and so will any light.


i tell a crowd.
slip it into a poem
like it’s nothing, because nothing is just
elizabethan slang for vagina.


iv. it hasn’t ended yet.


the pin pricks become sharper
and it’s harder to fill the holes
with the sands of sleep.


the word
is one repeated over and over
with each twinge and twist and pin prick
symptoms of anxiety
are searched
but only in an incognito window.


how to come out to your parents
is searched
but only in an incognito window.


i wait for my soul
to feel ready to bare itself
while i sit in the shadows.