The Lavender

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The Lavender the inaugural issue

Route 9 Literary Collective Wesleyan’s prose/poetry magazine fall 2021

About Us The Lavender is Wesleyan’s student-run poetry and prose literary magazine that publishes twice a semester. The literary magazine is run under the Route 9 Literary Collective, which also publishes chapbooks, social justice pamphlets, and a oncea-year anthology of writing from Wesleyan faculty, staff, and students, along with work by Middletown residents. Why Route 9? Route 9 is the road that connects Middletown to the rest of Connecticut. It is the central artery of movement that every Wesleyan student, faculty, staff, and resident has driven on. It connects us and moves us forward; need we say more? Why The Lavender? The Lavender is an homage to the fact that Wesleyan University’s official color used to be lavender. The color was changed because according to an October 1884 issue of The Argus, lavender was not suitable for intercollegiate sports. “Lavender is not a striking color,” the editorial proclaimed. Well, 1884 critic, we here at The Lavender find the color incredibly striking if we do say so ourselves.

Submit to our next issue focusing on loss and grief at Find us also at: @route9wes on Instagram i

The Lavender Team Editor-in-chief, Poetry Editor..............................................................................Oliver Egger Prose Editor........................................................................................................Immi Shearmur Design Editor......................................................................................................Annie Wendorf Head of Community Engagement and Assistant Prose Editor...............................................................................Caroline Asnes Assistant Poetry Editor...........................................................................Casey Epstein-Gross Assistant Design Editors.............................................................................................Bell Rush Cate Levy Copy Editor..................................................................................................................Jacob Gale Head of Social Media.............................................................................Elizabeth Campagna Poetry Team..........................................................................................................Amanda Ding Emily Hollander Elizabeth Campagna Jacob Gale Jane Hollander Rose Cook Sabrina Tian Sonia Menken Walker Brandt Prose Team....................................................................................................Abby Frankenberg Ariana Blaustein Carissa Herrera Clara Martin Lilly Gitlitz Shaniya Longino Sophia Meloni Cover Design.......................................................................................................Io Perl-Strahan Logo Design..................................................................................................................Leo Egger Special thanks to Kate Cilkowski-Winters, Tobias Matz, Professor Edwin Sanchez, Professor John Murillo, Professor Marguerite Nguyen, the SBC, and German Haus.



Note from the Editor Dear Readers of The Lavender, Hello friends! First off, I would like to thank you for picking up this magazine and giving it a read. While there are thousands of things you could be doing or reading or listening to or praying about or fighting for or scrambling towards, it can wait a few minutes. Go use too many of your points and buy that cup of coffee from Pi that you’re usually too self-conscious to get, take a seat, and read the writing of your peers. All art exists within a time; everything is all mixed up in the moment it was created. If that is a fact then holy mother of God, this work is mixed up with a whole lot of bullshit. In this past year and a half, everything was flipped on its head: we all came face to face with death, dishonesty, and disarray in a way that made things feel artificial and fragile. Out of all that (continuing) chaos, we are still alive and some of us here at Wesleyan decided to put together a literary magazine. When I look at this magazine, when I read all of it together, I see at first glance a range of diverse and thoughtful writers putting together a beautiful piece of art. On a second glance, I see this mesh of resilience, of care, and of unresigned resistance enveloping the entire issue. This resilience pours between the margins of these writers’ words, in between the staples holding it all together— it is the moment, it is the intangible feeling, it is the poem of this piece. Before you read the writing you came here for, I just want to say thank you to everyone who submitted and worked for this magazine this semester. Getting a new magazine up and rolling after not being on campus for over a year was an incredibly daunting task, but dozens and dozens of people supported and believed in this project. It is because of them that this magazine exists. My hope is that Route 9 Literary Collective is a space where anyone can share what they’re passionate about here at Wesleyan. The Lavender is hopefully the first consistent publication of many that will fulfill the goals of this misson. Please reach out if you want to be involved and thank you again for reading. With love and graditude, Oliver Egger ‘23 Editor-in-Chief




1. Enjoy this magazine, read it, if you don’t plan to cherish this object as A. In the hands of a loved one. C. The third person who wa D. The last person to leave your F. Your friend-crush. G. Your Wes-ene I. Strapped to the win J. In the backpack back pocket of a pass

2. If you are moved by this magazine you A. The bathrooms of Usdan C. The bathrooms of Sci-Li. D. E. Under the pear 3. Don’t UNLESS you

smoke while do it while g

4. Don’t laugh unless it’s actually funny a No performance please; this magazine

5. Enjoy! Once your done with this z that you love them, or better loved and tell them they aren’t




and love it. But once you’re done, a child, share the love! Place this magazine: . B. On the back of the Glyptodon. alks into your least favorite class. favorite class. E. Your campus-crush. emy. H. The person in the Cardinal suit. ngs of an actual cardinal. sing stranger. K. In the arms of a loved one.

u can cry but only in these designated places: n. B. The bathrooms of Olin. The bathrooms of your dorm/home. tree in Wild Wes.

e reading gazing out the

this window

magazine longingly.

and don’t say “hmm...” unless it actually hits. e is between you and your god. That’s it.

zine, call someone you love and tell them yet call someone you wish you half bad if you say so yourself.


Isabella Rykoff ‘24 vii

Table of Contents Sarah Albert “Ode to Björk” by Ben Togut “Joan, As I Want You To Be” by Mary Ahlstrom “Autopsy” by Jalen Richardson Annie Wendorf “My girl carries a knife” by Emily Hollander “A Dream, Poorly Lit” by Stevie Phillips Sylvia Atwood “the most efficient way to eat an orange” by Casey Epstein-Gross Succession by Anna Tjeltveit Claire Femano “grünt” by Laia Comas “Thinking About Ode to Masturbation by Ocean Vuong” by Jacob Gale “Christmas Communion For Non-Believers” by Sophia Jager The Midnight Cockroach by Lewis Woloch Layla Krantz “little animal boy” by Jane Hollander “Buds” by John Bell “Waterskiing Before Breakfast” by Annie Wendorf Bell Rush “4 Haikus/Senryu” by Milly Berman Sabrina Tian “A Kindred Soul” by Kiluwe Mbuyu “the math zone” by Caroline Asnes “Novel Criminal” by Alice Musabe “Fishing for the Moon” by Sabrina Tian Carmen Scott-Henning “Free Soul” by Kailer Brothers “Joyce’s Farm” by Lila Blaustein

1-4 5 6 7-8 9 10 11 12 13 15-16 17 18 19 20 21-22 23-24 25 26 27-28 29 30 31 32 33-34 35 36 37-38 39-40 41-42



Sarah Albert ‘23



Sarah Albert ‘23


Ode to Björk By Ben Togut ‘23 With lyrics from “Aurora” and “Pagan Poetry” how many nights have I been a moon come undone on the bathroom floor held you to my ear your voice delicate syrup glazing my senses Björk, I close my eyes & there you are you goddess sparkle you swirling black lilies totally ripe you take apart a TV with your bare hands break the fourth wall growl you shouldn’t let poets lie to you & I’ve been lying all along inventing new reasons for my sadness to flourish I crave your Scorpio charm your unabashed electricity One day I’ll wear a swan dress to the grocery store strut down the cereal aisle as everybody gawks at the cash register I’ll wear a crown of whispers make every unofficial worst-dressed list in the Tristate area Björk, it won’t be in vain believe me people will talk about it for years.


Joan, As I Want You To Be By Mary Ahlstrom ‘23 For the music / the heart / the airplane landing in corn fields always. A big guitar rips or rather digs. Sweet old car, it’s autumn, the airplane is falling. Teenage denim dreaming, teenage heavy lifting. Shit car holds heart. Holds / a type of airplane that comes / fogs a type of denim, taken off. Guitar is funny and also hurts. Oh, stereo! Oh, to walk with a hand that helps. To look behind and feel a sadness for: the Deepest Blue. Sad / the way a friend is sad for the car that breaks.


Autopsy By Jalen Richardson ‘25 What does one do with a brain-dead body? Sit there calmly, while they inspect the vessel fondly. It’s me I’m on thee Turquoise table with a bullet hole It’s like a wooden pole Right through the skull But like a loose tooth I’d advise you wouldn’t pull. It out, out like a light switch See my vision’s gone dark Black as night it’s, Not a sight it’s, A new reality. It’s corduroy except I can’t bear red cotton, Personality is gone, brain dead, fully rotten, But it’s often that I get up from the table feeling Caught inside a memory, But it’s just a facade while I’m wearing the wound on my extremities. Why can’t I be let go of this cold reanimation? Thought the bind would get old Break me free of all my hate thenI would take an oath, Take my leave; go on to my safe haven. Yet I stay here as a monster as I ponder how my day’s been. So much pain disseminates until there’s no more pleasure. His skin Turns to leather and bones brine into feathers. The cause of death Was not depression, it was the people he treasured. They broke in And fed him, Anything and everything condensed into denim, He wore it like venom. But now they no longer let him into their space, 7

He can’t feel homesick but still feels so out of place. They planted protection inside his fortified mind But like a bomb they went off and left a bullet behind He took it and cried, one bullet, his bride, they stayed together to remember what life was when he died. So please take a look inside, There’s nothing left to hide. I have emotions and like an ocean they turn with the tide But that’s not all there is to it Being broken is unfiltered it flows like a fluid But I’m without a drain for all this pain and all this sewage So I melted it into a cap and pop, I blew it.



Annie Wendorf ‘23

My girl carries a knife By Emily Hollander ‘23 Wields wildly Slices sky as if Striking carotid artery Of an enemy– Heads roll, dead eyes Still wide– Scritch scratch pitter patter What’s the matter – Can’t get up here? From the treetops White Nike high-tops Laugh at the silly People who stand still Waiting for permission From those who don’t listen – No, she defers to Murderous urges – When she’s out at night, Never knows when she might Have to fashion a weapon From a branch, bottle Or kiss–


A Dream, Poorly Lit By Stevie Phillips ‘22 It is the one that recurs most often: I think it has to do with a fear of failed potential usually everything is just beginning to cobalt, I can glimpse her walking towards our house from the opposite direction precisely at the same rate at which I am approaching it is definitely her but a popsicled moon my father once cut from holly hangs between us, eclipsing her face perfectly and it would be impossible for us to stop moving at the exact same rate that much we both know. We approach the lantern (home, womb or anything else) and I can finally see her

(All it took to get what I wanted was pause.)

But the light is so dim, her face is not her face! Eclipsed by nothing but night This wouldn’t have happened if I had replaced the bulb, any of the years I said I would any of the years we could have held a bit of beam and called it light, had potential turned kinetic.


Sylvia Atwood


the most efficient way to eat an orange By Casey Epstein-Gross ‘25 is to bite right into it, to scarf down the meat and the flesh all in one big gulp and swallow it down whole. cherish the rind and let it scrape against your stomach, sandpaper on skin. a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down, but why not eat the spoon as well? sip your coffee with me on the balcony; i’ll smile at you while i swirl in the milk and splenda. i’ve always wanted to drink coffee black but i’ve never had the stomach for it. of course, you’ve never been one to sugarcoat things, but i will relish in lies and artificial sweetness until i lie deep in the ground. i wish i was a black coffee truth telling orange rind woman but the sky is too wide and the grass too tall, the colors too vivid and the wind too loud. maybe one day i will appreciate the vast bigness of the world for myself but for now i will just tell you how much i love it



Succession By Anna Tjeltveit ‘23 You are a metal container on a sidewalk in front of a building made of four corners and twenty-four spiraling limbs trapped behind glass. People walk past you with grubby fingers which jab at your side and push coins inside of you, taking whatever piece of you falls away, hitting you when you do not give them what they want. In the morning, when the sky turns pale above the concrete buildings, someone opens your back and fills you up again. People walk away with a piece of you while you remain bolted to the concrete, so large and yet so insignificant. But what happens when the people vanish? You are only a box, made by people, touched by people, repaired by people. When the people vanish, you become a metal case stranded in a lifeless concrete expanse. No one returns to touch your side, no one feeds you metal pieces, no one takes the gift you offer them. You wait, alone, for someone to return. The weather chills and warms, and new visitors come slowly through the cracks in the sidewalk. Long strands of yellow-tipped grass and pale dandelions arrive to fill the soil around you, but they stay away from the cold shadows of your body. When they blow in the wind, they are a field of reaching hands and you are nothing but stiff metal which can never reach to fill the remaining space. At night, you glow softly, and some of the sleeping leaves start to raise their heads to your yellow light before they realize that you are not the sun. You are alone then, under the stars. There had never been stars in the darkness before. Then, chill and warm, rise and set, the first moment of touch comes. A blade of grass, far away from the others, finds its way beneath you. It raises its head and brushes your leg, and the metal mixes for a moment with something green and wholly alive. Suddenly you are no longer alone, no longer waiting for the vanished to return. Old fingers fade when confronted with vibrant wilderness, and you lose the sense memory of all that came before. Other plants approach quickly, spreading seeds beneath you now that they know your metal will not bite them. Their fronds grow tall beneath you, brushing your underside and pushing further towards the light. Lichen adorn your sides, covering you with patches of their short, broad leaves. Ivy climbs up your leg and curls up in the places where people once poked at you, where all has become peaceful.


Finally, your glass gives way, and the last barrier between you and the growing forest around you disappears. Wildflower seeds grow high inside of you, blooming in the open spaces between your shelves, and birds form nests in the places which were once hidden. You are a part of something greater than yourself, more than corners or metal or bulk. You feel the wind moving through you and dig deeply into your roots, your spiral tendrils endlessly reaching for the sun.



Claire Femano ‘23

grünt By Laia Comas ‘22 why do choir teachers always choose christian music too many strings everything is too entwined yes there’s yes that’s hyperbole barley never appealed so much to me concert chairs stifle entropy paris trifles and liberty equality fraternity is what i am leaving be the vaccine turned me into a honeybee the vaccine turned me into a mystic ducks in a row onstage who brought the gun admittedly this isn’t chekhov but still we’re approaching act four on the floor on the floor on the floor on the floor on the floor on the floor on the floor on the floor on the floor on the floor on the floor im on my hands and knees heaving on the floor. get on the ground you are the new day


Thinking About Ode to Masturbation by Ocean Vuong By Jacob Gale ‘25 I never take off my shoes when I go to the park my shorts fall to dirt around my ankles get off of me I just want to be a minor sylvan god who lives in the woods and only has to fuck trees /I wrote this poem almost two point five years ago btw/ ocean says men kill each other because we are raised through the lexicon of violence /I didn’t do this shit as often as I wanted people to think/ you nailed it he says you killed it he says is one of the many ways /but I had unfortunately internalized the role of the queer man as a hedonistic slut/ we kiss like we are struggling to resist all the ash-dead things splintering off each other’s skin /Nineteen year-old Jake knows that hypersexuality is a common aftereffect of sexual assault-- sixteen year-old Jake did not know this and if he did this poem would have probably been a lot less vague/ I just want to believe that men are good /Me too/ that on some days some of their flames might turn back to the sunlight they actually are /I used to think I was above these problems but as I get older I realize how false that belief was/ actually I want to have the body of a minor sylvan god /Same/ get away from me lay off of me stop touching me /I’ve probably made some men want to push me off of them/ let go of me /This poem might be a lot worse off now but I like it more this way/ I just want to go home and jerk off.


Christmas Communion For Non-Believers By Sophia Jager ‘25 The bread, the dead, the sweet red wine, a string of pilgrims and a shepherd thin: their hearts are pure, heads clearer than mine. With evening comes a sunset shine, stranger is neighbor and neighbor is kin, the bread, the dead, the sweet red wine. One-voice rise, drunk on divine–– yet I doubt. I lie. I don’t buy in. Their hearts are pure, heads clearer than mine. It’s flawed, I know, and by design: a world for dreamers or we who sin, the bread, the dead, the sweet red wine. But I can’t deny that stars align in cathedral halls on angel skin, their hearts are pure, heads clearer than mine. So once a year I get in line, let qualms relax, my joy begin: the bread, the dead, the sweet red wine, their hearts are pure, heads clearer than mine.


The Midnight Cockroach By Lewis Woloch ‘24 Unable to sleep, I wipe my bleary eyes and stare thoughtlessly at the wall for a few seconds. The luminsicent, blue-neon clock on my night table glares at me: 1:15. I stagger down the stairs to the kitchen with the vague intention of trying to find a snack to keep me occupied until my brain turns off. I turn on the light, and to my dismay a fat, ugly, brown cockroach is sitting on the kitchen floor, staring at me. Three options pop into my head. I swallow my fear and kill the beast, I go back to my room and pretend I never even saw it, or I wake up my cockroach hater/killer dad and demand that he save me. I am too sleepy to be a hero, and the cockroach certainly deserves to die, so I decide to wake up my poor father. He is immediately ready for battle. After giving me grief for accidentally waking up my mom, an inevitable tragedy in the face of battle, we troop downstairs. The creature comes into view, and my dad gets right down to business. Rushing back from the bathroom with a hefty wad of toilet paper, he crouches like a fearsome predator, and then lunges forward onto the kitchen floor. The cockroach scuttles away from his reach and darts under the cabinet. I suppress nervous laughter as I feel an excited tingle course through my body. My dad lets out a sonnet of swear words and leaps over to the cabinet. He peers under the lowest wooden section, obviously fearing for his safety as the cockroach now has a slim advantage. Peering from a safe distance, edging back into the living room, I giggle again and advise him: (“You have to move the broom dad! If you move it around it’ll come out”). The absurdity of this midnight venture suddenly becomes apparent; we’re both standing in our boxers, my dad sleep-deprived and myself giddy with a chance to put off sleep for 30 more minutes. As my dad continues to crouch and move the broom and yell whenever he hears the cockroach moving around, I start to feel waves of tiredness pounding through my head. Our time might be up. Minutes later we both go back upstairs, too tired to talk. It feels reminiscent of other times where I’ve found my dad downstairs too late at night. I’ll come down to read or watch something when I’m thinking too much to fall asleep, or thinking too little, and my dad has woken up after going to sleep hours before. We proudly acknowledge each other, but seldom exchange more than a few words, barely consisting of a conversation. It’s a stark contrast to other times I’ve spent with my dad. We’ve gone to baseball games, restaurants, and movies together, all experiences fill 21

We’ve gone to baseball games, restaurants, and movies together, all experiences filled with laughter, storytelling, and constant conversations. But these night time ventures simply don’t need as much talking. The way I see it, my dad can express the way he values me as a son through the simple act of him killing a cockroach for me. He’s willing to be woken up for a trivial, silly reason...for me. This night felt similar to all of those other times...few words, but much acknowledgement, as my dad came down to protect me from the terrifying, ugly, but clearly harmless cockroach.



Layla Krantz ‘22


little animal boy By Jane Hollander ‘23 i like the spot where the curve of your skull drops into the nape of your neck and your chain rests like a snake in the sun. i slide my hand under and give it a twirl, a tug little gasps, i know it’s not love but affection, a little animal affection of licks and bites of bodies digging scratching searching, in vain in thrusts in bites for a little just to carry you over just a reminder 25

Buds By John Bell ‘23 In a sterile sun, a park bench displays the prize. Plain white image of two strings connected by one, umbilical with no audio mother in sight. Encrusted in the divots is ear wax & the Apple cords appear scratched. Maybe forgotten while washing, No -- more likely dragged across asphalt, strings stained by blacktop. And still: I can’t bring myself to hold these buds in my maternal embrace. A figure walks by & I shun the buds. My mouth reeks of thievery, instant indictment. I consider Google -how doyu disnfect earbuds? I turn my device off and anticipate the answer: it would have been isopropyl alcohol or something you can poison yourself with -- Listen to what I am saying, what I am saying is if I have to play operation on these buds I think my brain will need operating because an opportunist like me doesn’t think ahead of time before grasping to love abandoned buds. 26

Waterskiing Before Breakfast By Annie Wendorf ‘23 Leaned up against the skiff’s side, head all dug into neck, all crunched into arms, all slunk into pocket, into pocket. If you go low enough you can tunnel away from the gale. I’ve got a life jacket over my hoodie, over my tee-shirt, over my swimsuit. We’re all sitting here thinking about being naked. Stop in the good middle, deep enough in, in the pocket. We’re gonna do it. I give him the signal. Let’s rake the glass the night laid. I delay breaking, stick to the cool edges, I send myself like a crab cage over the side. Now I’m doing it. Tall against the flat, I cut it up, I pull the rope in, get closer, I bend my knees. Curse my dirty mind. It’s hard to think of anything else because my clothes are sliding around the wet boat.


I bend my knees again, he’ll grip me by the life jacket hoist me over the side like a fat fish. I’m a big catch. He’ll make it look hard. I cut it up Cull the wake. I cut until quiet, I reap, I reap.



Bell Rush ‘23

4 Haikus/Senryu By Milly Berman ‘24 Velvet walls and floors, you licking your lips: was it raspberry coulis? It’s been a long day of sucking in my stomach looking for lookers tucking in tummy I haven’t been full in years rather swim than drown Boys and Girls and Boys— hard to get, do you want it as hard or as bad?


Sabrina Tian ‘24


“A Kindred Soul” By Kiluwe Mbuyu ‘23 I met a frog today A gentle chap Whose stalwart, stoic silence Brought a solace to my soul The like of which I rarely find In the company of my fellows


the math zone By Caroline Asnes ‘25 show me your teeth and i’ll tell you who you are barenaked under the bleachers burning bridges bearing the weight of passers-by i have known more in two weeks than they learned in decades of decayed treetops bare of leaves he leaves holes in the carpet in my clothes on my arms taken up over bullshit am i getting there? is he getting there? tiny baby bones are strewn across the carpet falling into tiny cavities so you had better rip them out then and save yourself the trouble massage my jaw and tell me it’ll be okay new holes don’t matter if we don’t notice examine my teeth and tell me what i can be for you


Caroline Asnes ‘25


Novel Criminal By Alice Musabe ‘22 The night before my appointment felt like the shortest nap of my life. The twenty-minute drive was apprehensive, no words uttered between my mom and me. But our hearts surfaced with terror and dissonance, my decision became a village decision and I was called a criminal and killer. I found solace at river shores. Hoping that mother nature is looking after my baby, bonding with hundreds of girls and their babies there. Societal discourse amazes me; it’s cynical In the 1800s, pregnant girls were drowned, now I am the bad guy– the killer. At night, I hear a grasping cry. My friends bombarded me with “what ifs...?” I have lost interest in sex since then, and I run away from the frigid village, I take a walk by the river shore. I want to bear my Blessing, and raise my Happiness, However, I’ll never know who I carried or what struggles I would have carried into the world. But now it will always be named my Brave until I can bear my Blessing.


Fishing for the Moon By Sabrina Tian ‘24 And the moon has fallen into this well, soaking up the cool stink of earth with her sunken pores. I drop my knees on salt and rock, letting them flay me as I cast bucket and line down, down to rescue her. Up and up I pull on the ghost rope that phases through my fingers. I beg for it to burn. Give up, I let myself dive swan-like into the moon’s sardonic smile and I settle into the gaps between her teeth as the frogs settle into the gaps between the fingers of my feet. Painless, I do not bleed. And I have fallen into this well, looking up at the red sky where the moon hangs heavy. How temperate my lungs fill as she reaches down, collecting my tears in her huge palms to baptize me. The moon is wet. 36


Carmen Scott-Henning ‘22


Free Soul By Kailer Brothers ‘25 Human-like but not quite enough for this world to hold. Reppin the prison-cell time-will-tell, individuals hearts beating faster, tryin to stay alive, to heal in every moment, drenched in epsom salt. Tryin’ to stay, survive above the ceiling, sometimes crashing against the sky’s limit: and I really want to tell you about this soul. Rocking in the wind. Flocking like birds. Bored into this chest, just aching for release: That’s the free soul, That’s the wild thing. Do I have to spell it out more? Locked-up soul Missing soles in soil, A life grounded like sold soiled land. Rekindle the flame Let it burn bright like the eyes, of that dark-skinned child aching for release.


Hand on bars Grab the handle bars. Prison-cell full of individuals. Tell me: who’s in charge? Tell me, so I can free your soul, flying free as it should be. Higher and higher, gone: aching toward eternity.


Joyce’s Farm By Lila Blaustein ‘23 We ate dinner on the back porch, a dark wooden deck, the world green, in front of us, sectioned by small barns and squat sheds with slanted roofs and the peacocks kept screaming and the one miniature horse ran from side to side, her hair, so human like, and flopping. The sun started to set and in a dark blue sky, we fed tall grass to the horse and you took us in the barn and laughed as she trotted a circle. You dropped pellets in a black plastic trough, plunking staccato in the air. We stepped around hay and wooden planks the horse sticking her head out and up, just to scare us, I think. I stuck a dandelion out for a peacock and it snipped at its white stars, clipping away a corner cocking its head, not sure what to make of this fluffed planet. In the coup, the walls thick with cobwebs yellow and weighty, bunching like rounded beads, on strings like pulled tendons. 41

I lift a chicken with two hands, feeling warm, scaly sides, thin skin, feathered shoulder blades pulling in in resignation. After you lock all the doors we walk the property, dark the air smelling like fruit trees as things quiver in shadowed bushes. We are circled in a white beam of flashlight the grass full of tiny shadows, our clothes black and white without the sun. It is strange to feel like a kid fingers awake with the feeling of sticks and musk while also so abundant with capability. As we walk around, attentive to every noise brushing trees and the edges of shirt sleeves, the whole world is a mystery again.


A space for your own poem after feeling so inspired by your peers:

A space for your own art after feeling so inspired by your peers:

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