Kallie Swyer



She said forgiveness lasted until midnight.

I measure it now in shadows

cast on roots—above ground & twisted,

I lost a full day to penance,

then left it in water to watch it

float. A lesson in density:

whittle your guilt & you can, too.

A lesson in honesty: I live in the river

silts; they are deeper than they seem.


today I asked

the gardener why she

liked weeds, & her mouth

filled with pesticide. I see them

growing by moonlight. I resolve: tomorrow:

find a shovel.


fear changes,

    she said; it stills

        in the thorns, appears

     when late turns early—

                                          as if I didn’t feel it

                                          each night, curled

                                          near my pillow,

                                          river water pooling

                                          by its talon feet

                                                                                                       while memory sleeps

                                                                                                       lost in the duvet until

                                                                                                       it is too cold not to find it


overthinking is like grabbing at roses, the way your hands come

away red & dripping, like you can’t remember if your skin was

always this unreliable & holey


an hour carving this is not me into a bed post    in a minute i will change my mind

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Kallie Swyer is a junior at SUNY Geneseo, majoring in English (creative writing). Though she loves Geneseo, Kallie is currently studying abroad at Bath Spa University, being inspired by the history and beauty of the English countryside. The last time Kallie was published she was in fourth grade, and she is hopeful that her writing has since improved.