Kelsey Foster-Goodrich



My mental illness is a gift
of a padaung every birthday:


With every awaiting year,
another royal bronze coil
is clipped into place
onto green-hickey-d neck
and cranes my head
further and further into heavens,
away from the caving chest


Every day
is slipping into routine
Sliding on another lead tree ring
I get old slow
Like Saturn married to her sorrow


“I” gets heavy-old.
Gravity gets the best of skin,
snaps the last of elastin
And dirt sings lustrous songs to it


But my head
still ascends
into thinner air


The browning world
and clunky skeleton
and foreign-ing friends
are unconvincing swamps
below thickets of mingling clouds


The poet’s brain is a cage
in its expansive ether:
It is three pounds
of galactic firing grounds.


Three pounds that weighs a ton
Three pounds sharply
wedges into every…
Three pound interruption
of a conversation


Three pounds brims the pores
like separating oil,
Sloshes like over-poured
beer; messy tides on red-desert eye rims
Three pounds drunk, bloated cloud


Three pound excuse from the room
Three pounds of paranoia in the bathroom
Three pounds hunching shadow stares
Three pound breathing down the spine


Three pound trauma monster
(Three pound Doctor
wanna quarantine but no Doctor
could ever catch…)
Three pounds bigger than me.


Three pounds towering over
the shell roaring with ignored
synaptic mobs.
(The body is too distant and irrelevant
for the memory to occur;
that the muted rumble
might signify hunger)


Three pound mutiny against the skin.
(Three pound alert whispers
at 5 AM lingering blinks:
“You will die in your dreams.”)


Three pound magnet toward
anticipating or draining moon
(I mistakenly told the first therapist
space travel is my destiny)


Three pounds of Not Better
(The therapist halted my chatter
about my “sickness”; said I shouldn’t
call myself crazy)
Three pounds Not Helping
(I never said that I was crazy.)


Three pound eggshell magnetized
toward the blunt corner
of the kitchen counter
Three pound rationalizing


Thought. Three pound thought.
Three pound thought.
Three pound thought.
Three pound number
Three pound number of thoughts
a day of taking a crack at…
Three pound number
of cracks it would take to..


I just wanna

see it
I just wanna

see it
I just wanna

see it

I just wanna see the flesh
of the wizard tyrannizing
behind the scarlet curtain


I wanna see it splayed out
I wanna unfurl the web of maps
I wanna unfold all
of the sticky layers
of stacked invisible mazes


I wanna show the dissection
to my relatives, rub it in the noses
of taboos, and say to them,
“SEE! This is how three pounds
can be too much to carry!”


(When I was too young to tell,
I’d watch the sun set
over the hospital parking lot
from the front porch of my home
as my mother would tell me
about God’s right-hand angel
who painted the blushing scene
just for me.


Yesterday, while I sat
on my own front porch
with chains of cigarettes
and a scratched notepad,
I interrogated her over the phone
about my cousin Krissy-
who committed suicide
a little over three years
before I was born.


My mother asked
why I was so obsessed
with the swept history
of Krissy’s quiet
then blasting use
of the colour red)


Three pounds
Three pounds
Mom’s worried
Three pound drive to the mental facility
Three pounds of got lost on the way
Three pounds of roundabouts
Three pounds talked my way out


Three pounds of I’m Trying
Three pounds of I Swear to God I’m Trying


You have to believe me
I just wanted to see it
I wanted it out
here- small, tangible,
squatted on the ground-
So I could stand over it and say
“This is mine.
Not the other way around.”


Kelsey Foster-Goodrich is a spoken word poet from Michigan, known on stage as “KFG”. Identifying as a lesbian and genderqueer, she has performed at a variety of LGBTQIA+ events at Western Michigan University, The Kalamazoo Peace Center, as well as many social justice and awareness events, such as The Suicide Prevention March in Muskegon and LadyFest Grand Rapids. She also received second place in the Ned Foskey Poetry Prize.

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