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Nitroglycerin by Virginia Laurie


You were four the first time you realized you could turn your body into a bomb, the explosion knocked you back onto the Kindergarten rug, pastel alphabet, you

looked down at the blades on your wrists and laughed when you realized you weren’t burnt, just sore, and people were looking at you with something unlike anger, apathy in their faces,

no more red twin eyes in the mirror scowling, so you smiled too, all molars and adrenaline.

You realized other people did burn, pink skin going red with the sun, and the smell was not as new as you thought it would be, singeing elbows, pink, red to grey, the curling edges of

paper, the paper moon and voice that picks at your cuticles no matter how you toss and turn on the mattress, etch your fingers into the desk, it will never be enough for her, fire

filling your double throats, and you no longer like your best friend’s spine, pencil straight and mocking.

So you turn him inside out, leave him in the wooded area behind your house, the empty corners of kitchen and clean leather, the unsaturated walls, echoing in on themselves, all the sounds of a humid silence that

turn the living room murky, make the clocks stop ticking, scared too to draw her attention, you’ve begun to hit things soft and hard. You’re learning how to detonate one finger at a time, late in the bathroom at night,

it is about power and control, climbing ranks, being the best. It is about solid ground.


Virginia Laurie is a student at Washington and Lee University whose work has been published in LandLocked, Panoply, Phantom Kangaroo, Short Vine, Tiny Seed and The Merrimack Review.

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