Emily Bludworth de Barrios




It is sad
That your thoughts don’t mean much

Like how a movie theater
Projects colored lights into your head

And afterwards
In the bathroom

Face to face with yourself over the sink

That’s still you
In the grim and gray reality over the sink

Crumpled popcorn smeared into the carpet

The colored lights in your thoughts

Like a very advanced camera
Photographing mountains or clouds

Also it is sad
When your brilliant mind has nothing of substance to settle upon

Like a high schooler
In the suburbs

Thinking complicated thoughts about lip gloss

A complicated web of mascara, and glossy magazines, and one particular boy

It is sad
When the brilliant thoughts look cheap or brittle in the light of day

It is a little embarrassing
To recognize your thoughts as cheap or brittle in the light of day

Some brittle thoughts
In the crisp light of morning

It is sad
When the thoughts that breathe in you


Wither and escape

As evidence having left just a faint whisper of smoke
Or an eminent or auspicious feeling

It is sad to have been abandoned
By your own brilliant thoughts

They well up in you and then are gone
You are composed of 100,000 slivers

Welling up and then gone




My pregnancy
was a long and happy nightmare

During which I ate
pint-sized tubs of ice cream and walked around the block

Becoming more tubby and unwieldy
as if living in the skin of a drum

Wielding and propelling my belly
feeling dreamy and druggy in the suburbs under the sun

I walked around the block
and watched episodes of The Twilight Zone

In 1960s America
it was silver and gray and all the people had disappeared

The tick of a clock
rang out

Men spoke in voices that were
urgent and clipped

Women languished in the oppressive heat
of a wet, dying sun

In The Twilight Zone the world was always

In our imaginations
the world always dies

Drowned or burned or infected or
contaminated out

By imagining a death so huge
hoping to infuse our daily lives with sweetness or urgency by contrast

The world dies
how sweet is this morning

The world dies
how urgent my life

There is a belief that life
should be spent leaning forward as if squinting into a bracing wind

As if life’s juice or marrow or interior liquid
can be drained or squeezed or sucked

If the world dies I hope it will be
a cinematic death

A beautiful woman
laying down in green grass in a dewy forest

A golden grey mob tearing itself apart,
full of great emotion

When the world dies I would prefer it to be
without disappointment, shame, or regret

Shame hangs on a man’s neck
like a terrible bell

Joaquin when he arrived arrived
with no shame upon him

Instead he has a sweetness or urgency
inside him

For example he is pleased
with the bath’s warm water

He is pleased with his
small naked body

The world when he looks out across it
is a field of universal truths

It sways or rings with
unplucked truth


EMILY BLUDWORTH DE BARRIOS is the author of Splendor, a book of poems from H_NGM_N Books, and Extraordinary Power, a chapbook from Factory Hollow Press. The poems above appear in the chapbook, Women, Money, Children, Ghosts, from Sixth Finch. Emily’s poems have most recently been published in Jellyfish, New Delta Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Sixth Finch, and Tender. She was born in Houston and raised in Egypt, the United States, and Venezuela; she currently lives in Houston. More information can be found at www.emilybludworthdebarrios.com.

Read more by Emily Bludworth de Barrios

Three poems in B O D Y
Poem at Sixth Finch
Poem at The Nervous Breakdown
Two poems in jellyfish magazine