Poems by Dawn Angelicca Barcelona


I palm the wooden floor
while waiting for the water to boil.
The air enters me differently when
I’m the only one to accept it. I feel
boneless in the night, waiting for
sleep. I don’t want to spend money
to blind out the sunrise. I want
to listen to the silence of neighbor’s
light streaming into my window. A
person awake when I am. A history,
language, and apartment building
alleyway standing between us. I
dream of a meal shared with
another person. I don’t see a face.
I feel half the food disappear,
and half of it served to me. I hear
forks resting on a napkin. Dinner
sounds signal pre-chopstick time. I fumble
for my phone. It’s only six o’clock.
I wish I had anyone to text.

I Can’t Quit Thirst

I love the moment before you breathe.
I like the way you scream open.
I like choking the cold, hard neck that releases you.
I like watching you fall down. I like your color.
I like swirling you around. I like your smell.
I love your stains.

Your legs drip down my throat
and small moments of truth crawl out.
I’m a different person from first sip to last.

You make me brave. You make me warm.
You help me enjoy the moment.
You make me buzz. You make me forget.
You make me burn the morning after.
You make me hate who I am. I ruin everything.

When they told me I couldn’t have you anymore,
you stayed so even-tempered, so quiet while I cried.
I loved you too hard. I started loving you too young.

All of my obsessions start the same way.
It starts with my hand, beginning to numb.
It continues with my heart picking up speed.

This is my mind turning black.
These are my eyes, closing slowly.
These are the words, among all words,
that I’ve committed to tonight.
These are the words people don’t like to say.
These are the words people hate to hear.

This is you whispering, “stay still and sleep.”

I dream of jumping into a glass
and never climbing out.
Everything burns.

I love being submerged in anything.

Dawn Angelicca Barcelona is a New Jersey born-and-bred poet who graduated from Rutgers University in 2014. Her English honors thesis on Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee inspired her to live and work in South Korea for two years where she worked for The Fulbright Program, teaching English to elementary school students and serving as the Editor-in-Chief of The Fulbright Korea Infusion literary magazine. Now back in the U.S., Dawn continues to write poetry and works on the talent team at MuleSoft in San Francisco. 

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