Gone Lawn
a journal of literature
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Gone Lawn 12
Autumn, 2013

Featured Excerpt

Vanessa Willoughby

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I was a witch knocked off her broom, the mad woman trapped in the attic. We met three days after the hospital had spat me out, back into the gilded cage of my mother. I swear that I could feel the bags that purpled my eyes. My clothes hung like wet cotton to a body that rejected curves and my lips were always chapped. You were the eldest son of my mother's best friend, the eldest golden child that had been shipped off to military school when you decided to set an unsuspecting neighbor's metal mailbox ablaze, combusting with angry, red licks of fire. You were fifteen years old at the time and your mother still buzzed your hair in the kitchen. That night, I followed you into your old bedroom and saw that your mother hadn't bothered to change any of the posters. A dusty Kurt Cobain was hastily taped next to Eddie Vedder. Perhaps your mother believed in the voodoo of ritual, the comfort of denial. After all, you both pretended to ignore the way my mother was afraid to touch me, as though I were a dirty animal she had wrangled from the street. My eye of Horus failed to help me, my little amulet broken. I think about the ways that you have failed me and I think that my rage could burn my body to ash and dust. I think about the ways that I could hurt you but I don't think that they would ever amount to much.

Vanessa Willoughby is currently an Acquisitions Assistant at Tantor Media. She graduated from Emerson College in 2009 and received her MFA from The New School in 2011. She's penned essays and articles for publications such as The Huffington Post, xoJane, NewPages.com, Nerve.com, Thought Catalog, Isis Magazine, and The Nervous Breakdown.