SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

Unleashed by Michelle Glans

-After "Autobiography" by Lawrence Ferlinghetti


I am still a child.

I have been to the sea

and to the sun.

I have carried bulbs

to the women in big straw hats

who hold soil like knives.

I have fed deer before morning

and chased opossums into midnight.

I have broken glass on my feet

and bled until my toes stained red.

And laughed at my cherry-soiled nails.

I have cut my hair with safety scissors,

chipped my tooth, heard my mother cry

when I turned ten.

I held her hand and cried, too.

I have been to the moon.

And I got sad because I couldn’t find the rest

of the solar system.

I have only felt death twice.

I have tried to write an elegy.

I have tried to weep over a friend

who I don’t remember

so mourning could slip out with tears.


I am still a child.

I am looking for adulthood

under glazed tablecloths and linen napkins

and empty pots on my grandmother’s porch.

I am watching everybody as they

grow up without me.

I am longing for a youth I’ve yet to leave.

Maybe I will find death

or maybe I will find myself.

And I will count past 250

without sinking into weariness.

And I will fragment the lines

my sister told me

once we had crawled into the big bed

with satin sheets and bugs

that stung my skin like oil.

Michelle Glans is a first-year student attending the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. She has been published in the Young American Poetry Digest, Orange Island Review, and Odet Literary Journal. She has won the Ringling College of Art and Design “Storytellers of Tomorrow” competition, Austin International Poetry Festival Competition, and the It’s All Write Short Story Competition. She also received three Gold Keys from Scholastics Art & Writing Awards.


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