By Penelope Rudolph

loneliness is not a stranger to my mind,
but it is a stranger to my body.
affection is a part of me,
etched into my bones,
whispered with my shaky breaths.

i used to fold myself into people,
force them to accept me,
wind my arms around rib cages and necks and
tuck my face into the warm hollows the human body makes
and i miss this, the most.

i’m touch-hungry and hollow,
a sharp desperation that’s new to me.
i find myself reaching out to shadows,
trying to hold hands with a ghost,
pressing my fingers to my reflection’s.

(all i get is a smudged mirror,
my bathroom smells like windex.)


Penelope Rudolph (she/her) is a teenage lesbian who lives in a Southern small town. When she isn’t working on school or a project she’ll never finish, she enjoys going on small, nonsensical adventures with friends. She has work forthcoming in perhappened. 

This piece is a part of DISTANCED 2.0.

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