Jessica Purdy

I like to ride on things that shouldn’t be ridden 

At the rodeo I volunteered to be thrown off the donkey. The clown led the audience in mocking my fall. How could I blame him? I hid inside the mouth of the big yellow demolition machine and rode it down into the abandoned house. Together we bit into the neon green Fuck Bitches graffiti on the old living room’s sheetrock. It’s okay because my hands are too soft to crush anything alive or dead. We tore its bones out and the insulation came up pink and frothing like lungs. The sun was hot on the top of my head, and the birds didn’t know what to do with this new information. They were flying so small and panicked. Dozens of trees lay hacked to death. Vines had tried a kind of embrace. I’ve ridden the Ferris Wheel hanging by my sweaty knees. I had to rely on my body to hold me. My hair hung down and tangled in the wind and the lights of this town. The muddy ground was littered with wrappers and cups. I’m always trying to ride a bicycle at night. I’ve figured out how to lie down and look at the stars while pedaling. The path so familiar, I navigate by sound and sky. It’s the old neighborhood and nothing can harm me.

Jessica says, my own voice if it sounded like an acoustic guitar.

In our dream band, on vocals:

Jessica Purdy is the author of STARLAND and Sleep in a Strange House, both released by Nixes Mate in 2017 and 2018. Sleep in a Strange House was a finalist for the NH Literary Award for poetry. She is the author of the chapbook Learning the Names (Finishing Line Press 2015). She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in many journals including The Night Heron Barks, Radar, SoFloPoJo, Harpy Hybrid, Lily Poetry Review, One Art, Poemeleon, and Museum of Americana. She is poetry editor for the anthology, Ten Piscataqua Writers: Follow her on Twitter @JessicaPurdy123 and her website:

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