Open 2023 Poems - Raquel Gordon


Courthouse Hearing
By Raquel Gordon


When I’m stressed, I pick at the place on my ear
where I decided I didn’t want continuous flesh,
so I paid someone to pierce it. I replaced my body
with silver to become more and less human.


A small pain from the puncture, then the grander pain of healing,
radiating like lighting across the shell shape of my ear,
the shape from all those museum paintings that science
says pleases us. Maybe one day when I get a real job,


I’ll fill my cavity with the good stuff, the stuff that blends in.
My lawyer has a filling in her nose. My lawyer looks younger
in the pictures on her website that I combedthrough the night before,
so I knew who to look for at the stale-urine-coated


courthouse. My lawyer told me it would take time,
that one day the water in the urine would evaporate
leaving only a sticky residue to corrode the veneered
stoae, then the city might replace the pavement


under the marble-kitchen-counter façade
after enough people were hospitalized for the skin
on one side of their faces eroding from lack of pillow,
but instead of providing pillows, the city would cover


the concrete with a top sheet, and it would take a long time
and be loud and inconvenient and unpredictable and painful.
But afterward they’d be gratefulfor the disruption, and if not,
then they’d be glad it was over.


Raquel Gordon lives in Seattle where she writes poems, short stories, songs, and choreographs dance theater. She holds a BA from the University of Washington in dance and creative writing where she graduated in 2021. She has recently completed the ancient and modern pilgrimage of El Camino de Santiago, and hopes to hike the Te Araroa trail in New Zealand soon.


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