Two Poems

by Juliet Escoria


Everyone is talking about witch hunts like they’re a bad thing but I think it could be fun. If they had some maybe I could finally know how other people looked at me. Like if they thought I was scary. Because if it were my choice I would totally burn myself. Getting tied up on a pole seems sexy and as I burned I could pretend I was offering myself up to God.


when i went home the first time after going off to get married my mother begged me: please don’t have a baby. here were her reasons: 1) it would have problems 2) i have problems 3) my husband has problems 4) all the problems would be parts of a real disaster and she wouldn’t be able to deal so essentially she’d have to disown me predictably, i got mad and stormed off to what used to be my bedroom. which is the place where i tried to kill myself four times half a lifetime before. in the morning, she apologized – kind of – asking if i understood what she meant that she was speaking out of love but also fear. she told me there were things she never told me because she had to pretend to be strong. i think that was when i was supposed to ask about the things i never knew but i failed to. a few days later, i asked her when she knew that i’d turn out “okay”— eighteen, twenty-two, twenty-five? but she was honest and said it didn’t come until i was living in new york, two years sober. that she used to watch the wine bottles pile up my skin yellow teeth darken and that smell. i guess that’s a long time to be worried that your daughter is going to die.

Juliet Escoria

Juliet Escoria is the author of Black Cloud (CCM 2014). She is from Southern California but lives (improbably) in West Virginia.