I Am Not A Cure | Abigail Staub

The first man to name me “goddess” was twenty-one and drunk on gin. Breath heavy with lust and booze, he told me that most nights he carved poems into the walls trying to write me alive in the room with him, so when the light hit the scrapes just right,  he could catch his breath for a minute. I was just fifteen, all ivory thighs and wild eyes, but still he held my spine between his teeth and spun words off his tongue like thread— they wrapped around me in a throat-crushing tangle, but when my limbs began to struggle, I convinced myself it was some sort of embrace.

One night he called me saying, “Babygirl, you gotta open your window and stare out at that moon. Isn’t it beautiful, baby? Look at the sky holding up that massive thing all on its own. Damn, you’re just like that, you know? You’re my sky.”

My frail bones were cracking under the weight of the rock he sickly called devotion—instead of shattering, I let him become a solar eclipse and never looked back at him again.


The second boy came to me on his knees at seventeen: a past lover replaced with steel skin and iron irises. I’ve never heard a voice as cold as his was, begging for my touch and dripping false sincerity off the edges of his lips.  He cried, “I didn’t know I needed you until you were gone. I didn’t want to hurt you. I’m just fucked up in the head. Maybe you can soothe the ache in my soul if you kiss it just right with those words of yours. You’ve always known just what to say.”

My frail bones were cracking under the weight of the rock he sickly called devotion—instead of shattering, I let him become a solar eclipse and never looked back at him again.

Each whisper echoed with a heavy blow that rang in my ears and bruised my bones so deeply that I still feel it in the marrow. As he spoke, I could sense those phantom-fingers that once fit so well between my thighs beginning to curl around my ankles, so I stepped on them.


The third man held nineteen years in his fists and told me I wrote like words were poison, as if I needed to pull them out of my gut as quickly as I could scratch them down, just so I wouldn’t choke. Now I was sixteen and slinking around in ink-black stockings, lips red and bloody from tearing the hearts of men out of their sleeves with my teeth. He claimed I was wild like nothing he’d seen before. “You’re wise for your age,” he declared. “You remind me of a Burroughs novel; I just can’t seem to understand you.”

I tried to unwrap my heart and serve it to him,  all raw and brutal, but he returned it untouched, replying, “Stay quiet, now, darling, I don’t want to hear it just now. It’ll spoil it all, you see.” To him I was a character, a fetishized fantasy, and he’d cover his ears if I ever tried to speak
outside of a poem.


See, men only seem to stumble upon me in the dark, as they grasp and fumble for something to swallow to convince their starving hearts that they’re worth beating. They hear my words as a siren call and drink me down in heavy doses. Then, they crush me between their fingers and grind the dust into the ground with their heels so they can keep trudging along, toting their tragedy behind them.

In their swollen eyes, I am only a poetic panacea. But god, in the time that it’s taken for my rubble to reform into this shape they call a body, I have grown thunderstorms in my skin and collected tornadoes under my tongue. Yes, I’ve been told many times by those who try to solve me that I exist only so that I may be destroyed for the sake of others, but instead, I have become a forest fire, and I will burn myself alive to tear down the thicket in my path until I’m standing in the wake of my destruction as merely human.
Abigail Staub lives outside of Richmond, Virginia and enjoys writing angst-ridden free verse, reading excessive numbers of classic literature novels, and listening to strange, folk-punk music. She identifies as a bisexual female and has spent her 17 years trying to learn how to be a decent human being. She blogs on Tumblr at guiseofgentlewords.tumblr.com.

Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, poetry, and creative nonfiction from marginalized creators.

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