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Apparently there is a coin shortage - Prisca Afantchao

and the other day there was a power outage.

Everything is going out and not telling us when they’ll be back.

I am convinced the storm was only sent here to remind us these beds we’ve acquainted ourselves with aren’t friends, and these walls we call houses won’t

always be holding us together. They will throw us out of ourselves and bust us

open if we don’t accept the times we have to abscond, sneak out of our skin,

even if we have nowhere to go.

Apparently this is a good time to get in shape

but I assure everyone I always am


bending over backwards for bodies I have yet to meet

and natural laws I have promised with exceptions

I have yet to become.

When my hands hit the ground and cave into themselves,

learning to hold all my weight,

which they are always attached to but rarely carry,

I remember that ​someone ​I am sacrificing myself

for will have to drag this mess behind them if not

by these palms forever shaking then by this hair,

its coils I’ll let them contort when crush inevitably


Wanting so badly to impress

with the way I fill empty space,

I am empty space.

I take this time to look at my limbs and cross their lines,

break boundaries in order

to get out of here,

not knowing where here is.

I taught myself these party tricks: how to

fit into a plastic cup, a back pocket,

a bathroom sink, a junk drawer, a swear jar, or a coin slot.

According to me, this is the time to bend

into something that can’t break,

unnatural, I can be strange attraction

nobody could ever look away from.

If I can make them gasp and tilt their

heads at a part of me running out of itself,

a shortage of me disguised as an

abundance of beauties, I suppose it can

also make itself into so much more.


Prisca Afantchao is a first-generation Togolese-American poet who is based in Connecticut. She is currently a high school senior. Her work was recognized in the finals of the Pulitzer Center’s 2019 Fighting Words Contest and has received the Silver Key from the 2019 and 2020 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Three of her poems were published in the 2020 Youth Speaks anthology, “Between My Body and the Air”. Her poetry tends to focus on themes of fear, geography, and physicality.


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