I. The New Jersey Devil Buys A Hot-Pink Bike:
The New Jersey Devil lies in bed for an extra hour, downloading and then deleting bike riding apps. The New Jersey Devil finally buys a bike-helmet and digs out its bike-light from the last wheel-horse. The New Jersey Devil bikes downhill so fast its tears are shlooped up back into its tear-ducts.
II. The New Jersey Devil Gets Its Period && The New Jersey Devil Does Not Want Children:
and guesses this is how one becomes monstrous. By recognizing their humanity and then rejecting it.
III. The New Jersey Devil Rejects Its Humanity:
There is a sect of every religion that believes some human beings are monsters. Today, religion is a bathroom stall I did not cry in. A mirror I did not break with my barking fists. Two bodies half-asleep on top of sheets in the smallest room in the apartment in Philadelphia and her calling me cute like it was my name. I have never felt cute before. I have never wanted to be cute until I realized I could be. Anywhere can be a worship-space. Anywhere can be my body recoiling at its own touch and the mirror fighting back. Anywhere can be my body. My body could be anywhere.
IV. The New Jersey Devil Watches The News:
and there it is. My body dragged up from a river. My body 49 bullet holes in Orlando. My body endless histories that all smell like burning. I have been killed for loving everyone including myself. I never wanted this monster-skin. My body the river itself. My body the bullet tessellating until it looks like mirrors in the dream I have where all my friends are dead because all of my friends look like me. My body a statement given to the reporters. My body the conspiracy-theorist's photographed orb. My body what is later dismissed as a trick light.
V. The New Jersey Devil Washes The Blood Off:
The New Jersey Devil's mother told me once that guys didn't like girls with scarred up legs. Told me to be careful when I was shaving. So I stopped being a girl && stopped shaving && fell off my hot-pink bike so hard they couldn't tell where the road ended and I began. Every now and again I wake up covered in blood. Sometimes it is mine. Always it is not surprising. The New Jersey Devil scrubs the wound in the shower until it stings like mouth-candy. Until I can make eye-contact in the bathroom-mirror and see something healing.
L.R. BIRD (they/them pronouns) is an Aries from the Jersey Shore, so they're not sure what you mean by 'speed limit.' They have work published or forthcoming in Blueshift Journal, Maps for Teeth, FreezeRay, Public Pool, and others. A multiple Pushcart Prize and Bettering American Poetry nominee, Linette is on the executive board of the Philadelphia Fuze Poetry Slam and is sort of trying to complete a bachelor's degree, but is mostly just trying to survive in small-town America.