Things I know to be true // maybe

Jeff Buckley drowned     while singing Led Zeppelin I haven’t gone a day
without crying    for at least a year & a half rattlesnake anti-
  venom can cost up    to twenty-two hundred dollars a vial     it takes
  no less than twenty vials    to actually save someone’s life In 1918
Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanov was shot to death
       along with the rest of her family I found out how my uncle
            died from an obituary in a         popular magazine I am terrified
of ever       setting foot in the state of Illinois    again Abraham Lincoln
didn’t     even want to go to that fucking play—

—I tried to drown myself when I was      12 I’m 21
now and I’m terrified of dying      too young I have obsessive
compulsive disorder I’m     superstitious I never step on
cracks because I think I’ll      hurt myself I say everyone I love’s
names to my bedroom ceiling    12 times I read
a Wikipedia article     every night before bed I dream of
the museum in Springfield    without doors or      my teeth floating
to the surface of a field in       Yekaterinburg or     the baby
rattlesnake who protested against    the back porch that my father
beat with a broom           I wonder where it is      now I wonder—

So maybe I have a doppelgänger in Poland or Virginia but don’t believe a damn word they
say and maybe once I almost went mad with grief the way they said Mary Todd Lincoln
went mad with grief but what would you have done in my position and

 maybe I was a nervous kid who played too much Oregon Trail but at least now I know how
to tie a tourniquet and maybe I didn’t ever actually learn how to swim but I did learn how to
                                                                        Hallelujah the way Jeff did, so it goes like this:


Much like the electricity I hide in plain sight,
           unnoticeable but warm to the touch. No, I didn’t leave
the lights on in the kitchen. Yes, I braided my hair.
           Put on lipstick in the rearview mirror. Scrubbed
the woman out of my skin until my wrists smelled
           like smoke. On the radio, someone sings about Kansas
until the power goes out. I am flat like hairpins.
           I fold into myself like the pocket knife I wear
around my neck everyday. Yes, I want to be
           dangerous. I braid the radio wires until we’re both
sopranos. I can taste purple. All the light bulbs shatter.
           I crush fluorescence between my palms. I’m referred to,
but all I hear are brackets. High-pitched. A current
           finding a river to erupt in.

Do you believe in rock & roll?

I don’t drink but I want to smell like beer tonight / give me your shaky hands / your spill &
your sweaty quarters / I want to sing along to American Pie as loud as I can & drink a lot of
ginger ale / sometimes I get out of bed to turn on all the lights while still half-asleep / I’ve
never been afraid of the dark / I promise / my nose is always the first part of my nose to
feel the winter / I refuse to wear gloves or mittens / Ritchie Valens died in the freezing
cold / before even my mother was an idea / & it breaks my heart every damn time /
California boys aren’t so sacred / give me another quarter / the patio’s freezing over / just
like the lake in Iowa / I’m a desert rat in snow boots / an Aquarius who almost drowned /
twice / I wrap my hands in my softest red scarf every night / maybe I’m a boxer in my sleep
/ maybe I dream of hypothermia / I never remember / I always wake up holding the scarf
like a baby / or a secret / here’s my secret / I’m scared of dying / & I’m scared of dying by
my fear’s hand / the way Ritchie Valens did / he was scared of flying / downright petrified /
& yet / & yet / but I won’t die today / not with all these bubbles in my stomach / here /
have a quarter / this one’s on me / play a song that makes you feel alive.

LYD HAVENS is a nationally touring poet and performer originally from Tucson, Arizona and currently living in Boise, Idaho. Their work has previously been published in Cosmonauts Avenue, Glass: a Journal of Poetry, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal, among others. The winner of the 2018 Ellipsis Poetry prize, they are the author of the chapbook I Gave Birth to All the Ghosts Here (Nostrovia! Press, 2018) and an undergraduate at Boise State University studying Creative Writing and History. They were born on their due date, and have been intensely punctual to everything since.