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About this Poem 

"This poem explores the things (or people) we utilize to get out of ourselves—the ways we attempt to alchemize the tangible into escape routes out of time, death and other realities. Mucus, oil, blood and boys could be substituted with candy, internet, mind-altering substances, women. I know that I've made many attempts to get out. I still don't want to be human."
Melissa Broder

The Purpose of Ritual

Melissa Broder

When you fled I disappeared
into the abscesses of my brain.
We are both impulsive humans
and perhaps my disappearance
was premature. To reappear
I had to grow younger. I began
consuming images of boys
at a very rapid speed, never
their bodies just reflections.
I distorted all the mirrors
in mucus, oil and blood.
When I say that I consumed
I do not mean that I ate the mirrors,
only that I stood beside the boys,
dowsed the glass and incanted.
I chanted you love me you love me
to 3000 boys but none said yes.
What does it mean to be so sick
with want that you create rituals
which lead nowhere? Only to be
human, I think, and less ok
than animals. I don’t want
to be human anymore
so I have covered the mirrors
in blankets. You returned to me
but never uncovered them.

Copyright © 2013 by Melissa Broder. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on April 19, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Melissa Broder

Melissa Broder is the author of Scarecrone (Publishing Genius, 2014). She lives in Venice, California.


by this poet


I give a convincing sermon. I say The body
is a coat. It is a very dark and heavy coat
but worthless
. Mother Mary nods from the pews.
If I give Mary all my atoms she will plant them
in a garden where ripened women relinquish
their bones to make room for littler women.
It is