Recipe for Disaster


a recipe for disaster


step 1. stay here beside me

variation: let me go

step 2. tell me what to do

variation: watch me sideswipe the mailbox as i lose control

step 3. wrap my bandages

variation: lay me bleeding in the gutter in front of your house

step 4. wield your honesty like a knife that will drain me

variation: soothe me with lies

step 5. sit beside me slip the butter in my breakfast

variation: close your eyes as i pour your patience out in a parking lot somewhere

step 6. cut me off from all the bullshit i’ve been telling

variation: leave the razors in the bathroom beside the soap

step 7. break down the door if i don’t answer

variation: believe me when i tell you let me go

step 8. it’s broiling in here get me out god get me out of here

variation: believe me when i tell you let me go


after baking: well shit i think i’ve lost the metaphor

serving size: i’d rather not think about it right now


step 9. go ahead go on go


let me go






the open drawer mocks me

jutting out from the smooth surface of the dresser

like the fat bottom lip of a petulant child

perverting the perfect symmetry of my ikea rectangles

with a flash of imperfection that threatens to wreck



this picture prods into my mind and my REM

it lingers in my un- sub- and consciousness like a parasite

it dares me to fix the fractures of this


unkempt world


to fix the spoon with the mysterious speck of tarnish around the rim

to fix the closet curtain that flutters with invisible intruders in the darkness

to fix the fingernail extending ever so slightly beyond the nail bed

to fix the windowshade suspended a cruel quarter-inch above the sill


to fix the softness of my belly that tugs at my abdomen like an uninvited guest

to fix the redness in my cheeks that writes my embarrasment in neon lights over my head

to fix the leak that i never meant to unplug in my parents’ savings account

to fix the words that still come out all wrong and wreck



it’s all so messy

in the thick of my thankless fixation

fixing the multiplying fractures of this terribly unkempt world

a world that taunts me with my reflection in the bead of saliva on a chewed-up straw

a world that strings along my anxieties like farces

for normal people to snicker at


but still i strain to be spicker

i strain to be spanner

i strain to be slimmer and smoother and smarter

and i will rub the soap into my skin until it bleeds if it will make me clean

and i will stumble out of bed to shut the open drawer if it means i can


get some sleep






i thought the city lights would

wrap their beaming arms around me

in a warm embrace of smog that could

smother my loneliness


i thought i would

never be lonely again


to look out upon the vast


of philadelphia

against a black sky

to be surrounded by the sounds of

screeches and honks in the night

i thought the noise and the

body heat of strangers in the subway could

fill for a little while

the empty parts inside me


i thought the lights would

save me


but they only leave me lonelier

lost and

swallowed up by the sweating crowds

of downtown

bright loud



Hannah White is a senior history major at the University of Pennsylvania. She works as a program assistant and archivist at the Kelly Writers House, in Philadelphia, and is currently interning at the University of Pennsylvania Press. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Sensible Nonsense Project, Cleaver Magazine, and The Birch Journal.

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