Mercy Hospital

If god is always watching we should give him a good view / He compressed us into a VHS tape that eats itself every million years or so / We look for our rosaries at the bottom of river Styx / all wrapped up in grocery bags because we want to stay weak / the kids you grew up with in the back of the classroom / with snot on their chins / and white eyes because everything is pure / When you were thirteen you ate the world and puked your guts out across December / Until all the snow melted and flooded the places she could have been born / A 1969 blue Chevy Camaro drives down the beach and chews up the ocean underneath / girls cannot survive on saltwater alone


Diesel Dyke

There’s so much summer in me now
We slept with the windows down
Two kids west of Mississippi
And just south of Hell
But it’s ok because all dogs go to heaven
My grandma said
“You catch more flies with honey”
But you love me like the river loves the bees
And you’ve got muddy eyes and
You’ve got muddy feet and
Vinegar can be used to clean piano keys
Cherries look violent in the sun
Let love drip from your nose
Cherries look violent in the dark
Let love burn down the trailer park


Black Roof Country

It smells like hot plastic and lemongrass / I hate to admit it but the taste is somewhere between childhood and West Virginia / I tell her I used to be the smartest six year old in the world / I tell her I understood death back then more than I do now

Word of advice: Avoid trampolines on nights like tonight

Walking on the moon isn’t as fun as it looks in science class / Trust me i’ve been there and solid ground is better to fall on / It hurts but you’ll know exactly where you stand / When I was six I found a shiny rock in the park and decided to never think about anything else again / I broke that promise of course, the next day / It takes so many numbers to get to space

Word of advice: Smash your headlights out and drive backwards down the freeway

Watch who moves for you and who doesn’t / I’ll bet you one thousand three hundred and eight dollars that the white cars will swerve and the blue cars will crash right into you / I dissolve like a pill on the tongue of the road / When I was six I picked my mother a bouquet of dandelions and they shriveled up by dinner time / When I was six I’d let my baby teeth stay til they were hanging by a bloody thread / I’d bury my brother’s in the backyard to save him at the edge of the world / When I was six my mother told me to be afraid of growing up / I told her from the backseat “I don’t think I’d want to live forever”

Word of advice: Flowers last longer if you keep them in sugar water

My dad taught me that when I was young / I said they last even longer when you don’t pick them at all / He said I was missing the point / April says this is the serious shit / April says this is the stuff that gets you extra fucked up / She says it makes her feel like when she was a kid during a thunderstorm / When I was six I loved rain / It meant picking worms off the sidewalk one by one until I was the heroine of my own very small universe / When I was six I wasn’t afraid of the dark or dogs only falling off the monkey bars / We fear the things we don’t understand / The one thing I couldn’t make sense of was the space between the fall and the landing

Word of advice: Take your daughters to the mountains before they’re 15

Iowa isn’t big enough to grow up in.


Rachel is a seventeen year old from Iowa who has never really done anything like this before.


Featured photograph by Nuno Antunes