The Cost of Finding Atlantis (is Drowning) | Teen Ink

The Cost of Finding Atlantis (is Drowning)

June 18, 2019
By jl637 DIAMOND, Livingston, New Jersey
jl637 DIAMOND, Livingston, New Jersey
72 articles 0 photos 16 comments

LGB youth are almost five times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers, one of the largest social disparities in mental health (CDC, 2016).


Summer on the asphalt streets of suburbia, you take a boy

under the peach-colored sunset and exchange breaths


underwater, the space between your mouths wide enough

to bury a lifetime’s worth of silence. Earlier, over the static of a bleeding radio,


you knelt like an animal raised for slaughter as your mother’s fists

pierced through hollow ribcage--your body attuned to the meaning of faggot,


which is to say violence, which is to say surrender. Behind locked doors,

your mouth pours into his like scripture, and the wingless flutters of your heartbeats


conflate into one rhythm, singing the same elegy. Gender is a knife

that you press to blue lips, hoping to murder the untamed animal


of your flesh, to let your shame bleed out against the bathroom sink

until your body is drained of its reckless desire. Nighttime,


you drink the darkness whole and find closets within which to hide,

the salt bristling your cheeks telling you what you know


and have always known: that you are praying

not for absolution but to still exist in the mornings,


because your body has been made target practice,

the bullets for which you cannot outrun.

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