California | Lily Cigale

did you forget scratching off your skin on
the floor of your parents’ shower, home
from a chilly vacation with a warm girl?
a text at three am: “I’ve peeled all my skin off
do you still love me? can you still love a mess of bloody
muscle, viscous trails, teeth, teeth, teeth?? things
on the outside that should not be? should be
packed away behind layers of flesh?”
a text the next morning: “wtf.”
quit droning.
she doesn’t love you.
she only held your hand that time you cried in
the hallways so that
you would shut up
she only kissed you, perched on your hips like
a pixie (long hair and mirage lips and clementine vodka)
only kissed you so that you would shut up
shut up shut up
shut up
about tiny girls with too-big eyes and too-red lips
who write badly about snowflakes
and boys with bad hands
trying to romanticize his dirt brown eyes and
skinny meanness and the
ingrained sadness of teenaged heterosexuality
remember riding bikes at night in northern california
kissing on various couches but
never alone. remember
our almost-summer
remember fluorescent lights and bad skin
economics class and crying in the bathroom
texts late at night: “don’t say that,
you’re beautiful
you’re beautiful you’re
you’re beautiful”
and don’t love girls who love boys who hate themselves
don’t love girls who won’t scoop up your
organs when they spill on summer driveways
queezy girls, uneasy girls
girls who have never read an anatomy book they
just stand there staring
at your kidneys on the ground,
your intestines your pancreas maybe
and even though she’s swollen with superiority
and sanity you still want to take
her little face in your hands but your fingers
are bloody
you’ve misplaced all your skin, sent it swimming down the drain and now even now, months later,
you can see her when you close your eyes
you can see her standing there
in the dark
your bloody fingers have left streaks down
her cheeks and
she is laughing and
she is going to kiss you even though she is sober
and you are only a simple viscous mass of tissue,
writhing in her driveway


Lily Cigale is a freshman at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Originally from Westchester, New York, she runs a fairly popular blog on tumblr.

Rachel Charlene Lewis

Rachel Charlene Lewis is a writer + social media editor, covering sex, identity, entertainment, and beauty. Her work has been published by Refinery29, Teen Vogue, SELF, Glamour, Autostraddle, and elsewhere. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @RachelCharleneL.