TWO POEMS

By Genevieve Kersten

New Guidelines for Essential Wound Care

Keep the wound exposed to the elements, wear it 
like a jacket held together with pus and matted blood.

Make sure everyone around you can smell seepage,
their discomfort proves the treatment is working.

Dress the wound in its Sunday best — 
the itchy floral number with a placemat collar.
Remember to always split stitches at the seams.

Hold the symptoms in your mouth,
swallow them whole for the doctor.

When your wound folds inside you let it gestate.
It will be viable after 26 years.


World Mental Health Day

Anxiety says, Run through the details one more time. 
Make sure I didn’t miss it.
The “it” that solves the whole thing.
Make sense of the mess.
Walk me through it again.
Paces back and forth.

Compulsion says, I can shut that one up. 
Hands me a menu of comforting bad choices. 
I can make you forget all about it.
Voice like velvet,
Let me.

I’m a pool on the floor 
or everything else melted 
either way I drift away

eyelids pasted together
the world a scratching gray
carpet needles my face

From above a sigh, 
Why did you get out of bed yesterday?
Depression turns down the sheets on my side of the bed, 
pats the mattress.


Genevieve Kersten is a poet, editor, and professional semi-finalist. She is co-editor at Okay Donkey. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in 8 Poems Journal, The Feckless Cunt Anthology, Helen: A Literary Magazine, and Here Comes Everyone. Find her on Twitter @genekresten and @okaydonkeymag.