“Relics” by Meg Tuite

Auto Grave
“Auto Grave” by Elizabeth Leader, mixed media on Fabriano paper

You swallowed the winning rainbow marbles so
slimy Stuart wouldn’t steal what was now stuck
to the gum you didn’t mean to inhale
while you were talking,

sucked like a vacuum
into the shipwreck you wish
you could swim through
revisit all those floating treasures
from the past.

Bottle caps chugged down with beers
on a dare, out of boredom,
cat whiskers stuck in your throat
Maria swore would give you cat eyes

cigarette butts gagged on over and over
from the same goddamn plastic cup used as an ashtray
you kept picking up
instead of your drink next to it
while underwater in a stoned-wash haze,

the bag of hash you mouth-raped
when your train was approaching France from Amsterdam
German shepherds sniffing and straining to locate your interior

the used condom you fished out of the trash
endowed into your gullet
while Crank Campbell was in the bathroom
readjusting his perfection

the bulge of love proclamations you wrote to Patrick Burnett
on scented green post-its that you tore to pieces
slugged back with saliva
before Mr. Riley, your math teacher,
made it down the aisle to confiscate

flies, mosquitoes and at least one moth diving your airways
every sweaty summer you rode your bike

hedged in between the glitter,
hairspray and poppers,
robin’s egg blue eye shadow, lines of coke,
cascades of plum, tangerine and berry lipsticks, angel dust
you licked before and after slathering your eyes, mouth
radiating chemicals bubbling up from your floating internal wreckage

as each boy’s tongues and hands
glided through those tentacles of seaweed
and yesterday’s gems, submerged you in a future
that felt more like an unearthed tomb.



Meg Tuite‘s writing has appeared in numerous journals including Epiphany, JMWW, One, the Journal, Monkeybicycle and Boston Literary Magazine. She has been nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize. She is fiction editor of Santa Fe Literary Review and Connotation Press, author of Domestic Apparition (San Francisco Bay Press, 2011), Disparate Pathos (Monkey Puzzle Press, 2012), Reverberations (Deadly Chaps Press, 2012), Bound By Blue (Sententia Books, 2013), and Her Skin is a Costume (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2013). She won the Twin Antlers Collaborative Poetry award from Artistically Declined Press for her poetry collection, written with Heather Fowler and Michelle Reale, Bare Bulbs Swinging, (2014). She teaches at the Santa Fe Community College.