by Kelsey Bryan-Zwick
What is this invisible force that hits
so powerful in my life it bends my spine
leaves me doubled over into a permanent
squiggle—hard as any bus or bullet?
My misfortune is not knowing what
to change or not to change. Scoliosis is
An idiopathic disorder most prevalent
in adolescent girls, teenagers captive to
our anatomies, teens so often belittled
growing up in a culture steeped in
misogyny, assault, and rape. Maybe we
are just trying to make ourselves smaller
uglier in a way, hoping nobody will notice
we are here. Maybe we just needed
at one point, to be held up, like we really
Or maybe it’s our own internal gravity
weighing us down, asking us to fly
to the moon, all the way past Mars,
beyond everything we’ve ever been told
asking us to escape.
* * * * *
Kelsey Bryan-Zwick is a Spanish/English speaking poet from Long Beach, California. Disabled with scoliosis from a young age, her poems often focus on trauma, giving heart to the antiseptic language of hospital intake forms. She is the author of Watermarked (Sadie Girl Press) and founder of the micro-press BindYourOwnBooks. Kelsey is a Pushcart Prize and The Best of the Net nominee, and has had poems accepted by Spillway, Writing in a Woman’s Voice, Trailer Park Quarterly, Redshift, Lummox, and Right Hand Pointing. Moon Tide Press’ Poet of the Month for May 2020, find her at www.kelseybryanzwick.wixsite.com/poetry and on Instagram @theexquisitepoet.