Poems by Taylor Emily Copeland


A home is now a suitcase and bags
of books. Your toothbrush thrown
into the bottom of a bag without
tears in the strap. Your hairbrush
has been tossed. There is no need
for makeup where you’re going.
Independence, dependence, snap
fingers and they are interchangeable.
You now live in the quiet of New
Jersey suburbs, the lace and softness
of your least judgmental friend. She
will not ask you about your muffled
sobs at night. She will not ask you
to replace any food. Hunger has been
swapped for anxiety. You count pills
and the moments when your body would
glisten in beach chairs. Home is the
sound of sock covered feet over carpet,
rushing to hold you before everything
dims to fade out.


There was a moment that now seems like
part of a movie that has been shelved
and not pulled out of its dusty, black
case in what seems like years—when the
shoulder length strands sprouted from
my scalp were a dyed, dark brown. It
was the first time I felt like a fraud,
this alien thing reflecting back at me
like some maenad doppelganger that stole
my books and echoed her laugh down sunlit
hallways. The second time, she left a
trail of blonde on pillows and a sofa,
shed months of agony to create late night
dates with porcelain, with the harsh glow
of artificial light. I curl into a crescent
moon and hold all that has released itself
from me. I ask for explanations over ugly
tears and want to bore my own hands inside
of me to tear out what is pushing off of
me the only pieces I’ve ever known of me.

The stolen joggers

We know you fought back, Karina.
You bore your teeth so hard into
the bastard that they broke, but
it didn’t keep him from forcing
himself in you, didn’t keep him
from squeezing the life from you.
He didn’t bother to cover you,
to give you one last ounce of
dignity—your sports bra and pants
down, a shoe and your headphones,
missing. Your father has shut down—
a husk of a man in his living room,
his strong, beautiful daughter, a
hourglass spilled of sand.

It must have been unimaginable pain,
Vanessa—the smell of your own flesh
peeling away, the taking of your
body by a stranger, his hands thieves
stealing your voice. The woods held
your bared body in its silent, stark
blanket. You always ran before going
back to the Big Apple. No numbers in
your head would add up to your last
breaths. Someone knew your path, knew
your routine. You were discarded in
daylight, a rooted plant removed of
its fruit.


Taylor Emily Copeland is a poet from Eastern Pennsylvania, now living in New Jersey. She is the author of two chapbooks: “Caffeine kisses and long sleeves” and “Monarch”, both available from Maverick Duck Press. Her poems have recently appeared in Melancholy Hyperbole, Hobo Camp Review, Thick With Conviction and Chantarelle’s Notebook. She is a four time Best of the Net nominee and also was nominated for Best of the Web. She reads obsessively, likes pink things, drinks too much coffee, drives aimlessly and falls in love too easily. She is unashamed of all of it.

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