Broken Sestina

by Sarah Blazevic

(written before Bella begins treatment in the OCD Institute at McLean Psychiatric Hospital for Adults)

Medication baby-proofed it all at first, sealed everyone
and everything in saran wrap. Then came movies, slipping
into my orbit, biting and sweet:
Blair drowns on the 4th of July again, and drowns again,
and all August my friends sneeze red white and blue.
There is an infinite amount of hope but it probably isn’t for us.

Watch me unwrap the first cigarettes I ever bought us.
Watching myself, as in a movie, so no one
knows I’ve never tapped a brand-new pack of Camel Blues
against my wrist before, slipping
the plastic sheath off. The movies I dream instead of sleeping. At the Cape again,
I am three and the waves tsunamis, white sand sweet,

they crest the eaves of our summer porch and I play, sweet-
ly brave, at water’s edge. As foundlings I see us
at fifteen, nursing each other alive. I visit a different hospital again.
You joke about the windows and doors, every one
with steel caging like chicken wire, codes you need for slipping
out of rooms like living in a top-secret lab. Blew

my cover when I said How are you, forgetting the rules of this prelapsarian blue
moon world: no easy questions there where you barely are; no sweet
talk either. Bracelets though, like middle school, those colored bracelets telling us
stories about the kinds of sex everyone had had, bracelets for everything, slipped
on when you enter. These are different though, you won’t have sex again
for a while, and the colors are less bright, and no one

cares if you’ve given a blow-job before. Red doesn’t mean someone
will ask you to the Halloween dance – blue
is Matt’s mewling when the EMTs carry him from the library, straitjacketed again,
stripped naked so the doctors couldn’t grab him, sweet
tooth sated with sugar-coated pills. He will not slip
out in the night again for a while, he will not try anything again for a while, but trust

the medication, that it will have its ways, that something will fix us.
You swear, this hospital will be different, this one
knows how to tether your slipping
self, knows how to stitch your blue
shadow to your soles. You are sweet
when you’re sedated. You’re a kid again.

In the spring we are riding our bikes in the streets, sweet
and wet, slipping by below us. None of us believe it
but still we need to know: that blue moon will rise again.


Sara Blazevic
, a Croatian New Yorker, attends Swarthmore College. Her poems and photography have appeared in the Newport Review, Thrush, APIARY, We Are Wild, Szu Magazine, and the upcoming edition of the anthology Pooled Ink.

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