Traffic Jam

by S. Makai Andrews


when I was a freeway I soaked my throat in exhaust
              slipped through old towns like dirty needles
              cracked prenatals through my veins
   
when I was a freeway sun bled into me
              until the rain drove in and he filled my stomach
              with diaper bags and soft water that broke too soon
              stopped the roads and flushed my stomach into motors
              made islands with cars in my chest
              and waited for digestion
   
when I was a freeway I made a home
              one with babies who sleep so quietly
              their mothers stay awake watching
              looking for breath in hollow lungs
   
when I was a freeway I was knocked up
              on red lipstick kisses
              his molar felt like a cradle
              mouth promised 3am shrieks and toenails
              the size of rice
   
when I was a freeway I carried
              a pregnancy to the hospital on my tongue
              when the oil was slick and
              the brakes gave nothing but screeches, back
aches when
   
       premature meant dangerous
       and umbilical cords wrapped around unborn
       necks cut off from food
       so their hearts weren’t hummingbird wings
       but new turtles scrambling into sea
   
when bellies were plush with a child
               who stopped kicking
               when the cord fettered too tight
               the final months like the white noise
               on the baby monitor now
   
when hospital fluorescents flashed with
               an epidural that cut off
               like when I was a freeway and streetlights
               made sure the space between the two cars
               didn’t tighten and end on the nightly news
   
when I let joints pop in my neck and
               potholes slice into me like
               c section scars so don’t touch
               her neck because it still feels like
               the seatbelt caught across her
               chest that spilled kisses to a baby so still
               no one could believe there was air
   
when I was a freeway his mouth went dry
               street signs tattooed my teeth
               decorated new cribs in dust

 

Author Biography: S. Makai Andrews is from Los Angeles, California,
and currently attends Interlochen Arts Academy as a Junior. Her work was
recognized in 2015 by the Scholastic Arts and Writing Competition in multiple
genres, was published in Lip Magazine, and was a finalist in the Charles
Crupi Memorial Poetry Contest.

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