Tag Archives: 8.2 Launch

Welcome to the virtual launch party for Gandy Dancer, 8.2!!!

At the end of most semesters, you can find us celebrating the launch of Gandy Dancer in the College Union at Geneseo. We have food and drink. Guests can hear contributors read their work in person, purchase the new issue or a Gandy Dancer T-shirt, coffee mug, or baseball hat. Sometimes we have live music or a raffle, but we always have fun.

This semester, we’re all spread out across the state, hunkered down at home, but we still want to celebrate the new issue, the hard work of putting it together—especially after we went to remote learning—the artists and writers from across SUNY who entrusted us with their work. You can view it below, on our YouTube channel, or with the current issue.

As always, you can purchase an issue here or view it online at gandydancer.org.

We hope you’ll enjoy the work you see and hear.

Many thanks to Allison Brown, Michele Feeley, Dr. Rob Doggett, and the Parry family. Thanks also to the contributors for sharing their work and to the creative writing and art instructors in whose classrooms this work was encouraged to bloom.


All best,

The Gandy Dancer staff


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Filed under Blog

Kiel M. Gregory

The Language of Physics Between Two Bodies

Two stars dance about gravitationally; a beauty,

she says, in abstraction. Art in motion and in the

moments leading up to death; There’s something

beautiful, she says, in the movement of a thing

before it destroys itself. This happened somewhere

between three-and-a-half and six billion years ago,

and we’re just now able to know it—able, at least,

to see it—and those two dispositions somehow seem

at odds. The difference between seeing and knowing

has something to do with depth, belief, and

intimacy. How long has it been since we were truly

understood? When was the last time we could say

we were known, and have we ever loved? What

was it that we as stardust were here to do but dance?


Kiel M. Gregory lives in Sackets Harbor, NY, and studies English literature, philosophy, and creative writing at SUNY Oswego. His prose and verse appear in Lips, Paterson Literary Review, Furrow, Gandy Dancer, Great Lake Review, Black River Review, and elsewhere. In addition to writing, his interests include skydiving, cooking, and reading classic and contemporary speculative fiction. Connect with him online @kiel.mg.

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Filed under Poetry

D’Arcy Hearn

Holding My Breath

I am not a runner, but today I run. I don’t have a destination, I just want to be somewhere else, anywhere other than trapped between the walls of my apartment. I let my feet guide me, propelled forward by the strength in my legs. Even chronic pain can’t stop the momentum, as my subconscious actions are powerful, an unstoppable force. My brain is in tune with the rhythm of my feet as they hit the pavement one behind the other, right foot, left foot. Remember to breathe. I hear the constant reminder in the voices of my mother, the doctors, my therapist, my friends. Breathe in the sickly sweet scent of magnolias; breathe out the pain.

It feels like the apocalypse has hit New York City, the seemingly endless motion and boundless energy paused in silent fear. The city that never sleeps entered hibernation, and although there will be no returning to normal, no one knows when we will return to anything at all. I have lived through September 11th and Hurricane Sandy, and I have never seen anything like this.

I marvel at nature still in motion, triumphantly blooming as humanity quietly resigns itself to stillness, locked away in homes. Staten Island may be the sleepiest borough, suburban and slower paced, but it is unrecognizable in this eerie ghost town state. The high school across the street from my apartment building is deserted in darkness, no raucous laughter of restless teenagers screeching and fighting. The playground is silent, save the swings gently swaying in the soft breeze. Gang violence and shootings seem to have disappeared during this pandemic, but I know the real danger is for those trapped inside with an abuser. It makes my stomach churn to think about my students. I hope to God they are safe.

Restaurants, nail salons, and stores are closed or mostly deserted, desperate signs with delivery information posted in the windows. The local dive bar has written their phone number for takeout in decaying red paint, which drips like blood down the façade uninvitingly. No one is running down the hill, hurriedly trying to make the ferry to Manhattan before the doors close and they have to wait another thirty minutes. The bodegas are the only sign of life left, a small reminder that we are not alone, and the only place that still has toilet paper in stock. The way my grandfather would stockpile paper goods in his garage doesn’t seem so funny anymore: it all makes sense now. That will be my generation forty years from now—stockpiling toilet paper, Clorox wipes, and non-perishables.

I am not a runner, but running has always felt like liberation. When I’d get drunk in college, I’d run down the sidewalk towards the green, giggling joyously as the world rushed by, and I felt free—free of expectation, of obligation, free from even myself, the person who held everything so tightly inside. When I felt overwhelmed with a situation, I would pull an Irish exit, immediately vacate the premises to keep myself from exploding into tears. Years later, I have matured and developed healthier coping skills than alcohol and bailing, but I still sometimes feel that same urge to flee from conflict.

As my feet make contact with the ground beneath me, I focus on the sensation of finding my footing on the different surfaces below—uneven sidewalks, packed dirt, wobbly cobblestones, and cracks in the pavement. I turn the corner aimlessly, pausing slightly to take in the view. A large flowering tree leans over the corner of the steep hill, sloping down towards the water and the horizon. The wind produces a snowfall of white flower petals, and I’m reminded of winter walks with my father. Then, we appreciated the gentle pause in city life, as people retreated inside, and the snow blanketed the streets in snowy silence. The pause we’re in the midst of now is anything but gentle; it is sudden, scary, and uncertain.

Down the hill beyond the swirling pollen snow is the Manhattan skyline in the distance, unchanging across the sparkling water. Just out of reach, unattainable for living, but the place where many of us work and sometimes play. I head downhill towards the glimmering vista, thankful for once I live in a more boring borough, less densely populated and greener. I feel the incline shift beneath me, sloping downward sharply, so I adjust my pace accordingly. I struggle to breathe through my pink bandana, which I carefully chose over the red and blue ones I own.

I try to focus on the soft breeze and the sun peeking through the clouds, to shut out the image of my father’s hazel eyes above his mask as they clouded over and I caught a glimpse of something I’d never seen before, the unmistakable pain at the loss of his best friend of over sixty years. Standing six feet away in my parents’ driveway, I couldn’t even hug him, and I swallowed hard to keep the lump in my throat from rising any higher. My numbness melted at this first close loss, three weeks into quarantine. On my way home from their house that evening, I sat in my car and cried, not wanting to burden my roommate. We’re all dealing with the same pain, so how could we comfort one another?

Later that night, I composed myself and reached out to the man who is not my man. He calls me a runner, but I haven’t run from him after three and a half years, the longest romantic connection I’ve had. Without the physical nuances of close proximity, our long distance relationship wasn’t easy. I had run to other men, ones who were closer, physically present, and ready to dive in. Those relationships never lasted. He has my whole heart, and no amount of running away can change the fact that I still run back to him. We rarely see each other in person, so our relationship in quarantine hasn’t changed, as we continue to communicate through video chats, postcards, letters, and voice recordings. When I called that night, he was just beginning his day, finishing up meditation, and getting ready for work. His calming, gentle energy always puts me at ease, and he immediately sensed that I was off. He listened and somehow made me laugh, still present even as he had to log onto his computer to begin teaching English to his students in China. I told him how pleased he would be that my therapist was working on breathing techniques with me. I rolled my eyes and he laughed, nodded approvingly. Although time zones divide us, lately I feel closer to him. He appreciates the increased video calls, possible because I have more unstructured time on my hands than normal. This urgent and isolating time has forced our conversations deeper, into a vulnerability neither of us has ever known.

Breathe in emotion: it’s okay to feel; breathe out the burden: you’re not in this alone. As a social worker, I recognize my own trauma responses, but that doesn’t make them any easier to deal with. Although my parents are only ten minutes away, I can’t be with them. I worry constantly. So, I keep on running, letting my lungs fill with fresh air while I can. I know I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m healthy, young, and financially stable. I live and work in this community, and I know all too well that the color of someone’s skin can determine their health outcomes. I cannot control the devastation this virus is unleashing on our most vulnerable communities, and I feel helpless. I signed up to volunteer for food delivery, to provide mental health support via phone, and to lead virtual therapeutic art classes. This ability to be useful gives me a sense of control, something much needed in this uncertain time.

I’d been planning to run from this place, to quit my job after my grant ended in several months, and move to Central America, where I could work on my writing and immerse myself in Spanish language learning. Now, there is nowhere safe to run. I have to face whatever it is I’m running from. I’ve recently hit my goal of traveling to twenty countries before turning thirty, and I was making moves to leave everything behind and just go, unusual for my Type A self. I had been following my 2020 intention of leaning into risk, and letting go of fear-based decisions. Now I’m stuck and unsure of what will come next, and my plan to travel is null. I focus on the here and now. Breathe in, left foot forward; breathe out, right foot forward.

As I approach the busy intersection of bus stops, I map out a pathway around the familiar group of people hanging out on the corner, undeterred by the virus. Various substances cloud their judgment, and they likely do not have a safe home to shelter in place. I round the corner and pick up the pace to a sprint, following my feet as they lead me away. I know I’m privileged to have a job where I can work from home for the time being, and I’m thankful for the paycheck and purpose of my work. I wonder if this virus will cause people to finally listen to the health equity issues my students have been facing all along.

I feel unsteady, but glide smoothly along the sidewalk. My path is no longer planned. I’m just focusing on one step at a time, as I move forward into the unknown. I stumble upon one of the many secret staircases in my hilly neighborhood and delight at the break in the monotony and added challenge to my run. At the top of the staircase is a path to several driveways, leading to large old houses, homes with turreted towers and leisurely porches and intricate gardens. There are hand drawn rainbows in some windows, clumsy colorful stripes drawn by children, a sign of hope after the storm.

The silence in the air is punctuated by sirens, even more frequently than we used to hear the cop cars rolling through the neighborhood to the precinct down the block. This feels different, a soundtrack of fear. The ambulances don’t discriminate, they head down the hill towards the housing projects and up the hill towards the old Victorians; no one is immune from this virus. Living with the unknown has never been a strength of mine. My anxiety makes everything difficult. I live in a constant state of rumination, dwelling in the future and obsessing over the past. I am rarely fully present. Now, I’m forced to live in the moment, and I’m strangely calm. The stress that everyone else is feeling now is my normal, and I feel equipped to help others through this.

I squint, looking to see if neighbors are smiling through their masks. Is that a wrinkle around the eyes or a slight upward movement of a mask? I see the suspicion in people’s faces, but I search their eyes for kindness. I remember how kind people were to each other after 9/11. The air was heavy with loss then, too, but it was one fell swoop. Now, the air looms with the uncertainty of an impending storm. We don’t know when the downpour will start or who it will hit the hardest, but we know we can’t avoid the raindrops.

As I run back downhill past my old high school and the “dirty deli” across the street from it, I’m amused to think the deli owners essentially imposed social distancing ten years ago. They limited access to a few students at a time, with a large employee posted in the doorway like a bodyguard, looking disapprovingly at the diverse group of kids hanging outside, all of us potential thieves. We waited patiently just to buy a twenty-five-cent cosmic brownie or a bag of chips. We’d brush off a layer of dust from the packaging and the faint smell of mildew.

I keep running. Tune out the news, the numbers rising, a steady death toll quietly marching on. Breathe. How can I exhale when we are collectively holding our breath, waiting for the inevitable crash of the tidal wave that hovers just above us? How can I breathe when we are suffocating behind masks, between four walls, behind a computer screen? I need to breathe for those who cannot, as they cling desperately to life through ventilators.

As I run, I feel my shoulder pain sharpening, but I’m used to it. I remind myself to breathe and ease up instead of ignoring the pain and continuing. The one good thing about escalating pain these past few years is that it has taught me to slow down and be gentle with myself, to really listen to my body, and stop pushing through the pain. I decrease my speed as I pass the empty office buildings, eerily silent on a street usually bustling with city workers. There is no line outside the courthouse, no security guards by the Family Justice Center, no one getting married at Borough Hall.

Getting closer to home, I run faster, following my feet as they lead me away. I feel light raindrops on my exposed arms and eyelids. I’ve never enjoyed wet droplets on my skin or damp clothes clinging to my body, but I smile. The touch of rain grounds me in the moment, and it has never felt so good. I breathe in deeply, not knowing when I’ll be out in the rain again. I know not to take this for granted.

I try to think of the little moments of joy like the sidewalk birthday party formed from a parade of cars, as I joined with strangers and sang along from my window to a neighbor I had never met, the sand drawings and messages of hope along the shoreline as I watched the sunset over the bay. My roommate and I have shared many impromptu dance parties and joyous moments despite the pain, as humor has always been my go-to coping mechanism. We reminisce about our freshman year of college when we met, where we shared one small room and many big dreams. There was a time when we imagined our future selves as starving artists in Manhattan or Brooklyn, sharing a tiny apartment and eating ramen noodles. We laugh at the fact that the almost dystopian reality we had pictured had come true. We have upgraded our cooking skills slightly, and our apartment is blissfully sunny and spacious, thanks to settling in an outer, unpopular borough. Staten Island was more affordable, and we were thankful to have room to work and to dance in our old and open apartment.

The raincloud seems to dissipate, as the sun emerges from behind the gray. Shining beams of light illuminate the path. I’m glad I didn’t let the rain deter me, or I wouldn’t feel the warmth of sunbeams kiss my shoulders. I slow to a walk near my building, not yet ready to go inside. I see a familiar figure, a silhouette of a cowboy hat and a cane. It’s an older neighbor, sitting outside on the wall by the entrance under the awning just like always. He has his usual friendly demeanor, stately moustache, and clear appreciation for the day before us. I’ve never been so happy to see him. Usually I run out the door past him, late to work. He’d call after me to slow down, and I’d laugh and wave. Today, I slow down completely, stopping to smile at him as we acknowledge each other like old friends. Breathe in the wet rain on the pavement; breathe out hopelessness. I carefully create an arc around him, as I head back inside into the stifling air of my apartment. Taking one final deep breath, I remind myself of all the things I have to be grateful for, even the rain.

D’Arcy Hearn is a community organizer from Staten Island, NY, who is passionate about youth empowerment and using creative arts as a vehicle for social change. She holds a BA from SUNY Geneseo and an MSW from the University of Michigan. Humor is her favorite coping mechanism and her complete lack of a poker face gets her in trouble all the time.

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Filed under Creative Nonfiction

Misty Yarnall


Lisa Marie hadn’t smelled a flower in four months.

The pink petals kissed her lips the way her mother was too afraid to. She thought it smelled sweet like cherry blossom or honeysuckle. She didn’t remember exactly what those smelled like, but they were often the scents of the bubble baths and body lotions her mother bought.

Lisa Marie couldn’t remember the name of these flowers, but they bloomed every year on a bush out in the backyard. Back when they were allowed outside, her brother Nicholas used to kick soccer balls into the bush on accident and the petals would drop. Mom always got mad.

The plant’s leaves felt leathery. Lisa Marie pulled one off the stem and put it in her pocket. She would have to remember to take it out before Mom did laundry.

“I thought you weren’t allowed to be outside.”

Lisa Marie looked up, noticing Gavin, one of Nick’s friends. He leaned his bike against the house and unbuckled a helmet from under his chin.

“I thought my mom said you couldn’t come over,” Lisa Marie said.

“I’m only not allowed to come over because you’re sick.” Gavin balanced his helmet on the handlebars.

“No, you’re not allowed to come over because of the virus.”

“No. My mom let me go over to Tim’s house yesterday,” Gavin said. “What’s wrong with you anyway?”

Lisa Marie traced the leaf in her pocket. Her secret. “I was born too small. I get sick a lot. My mom says that I will get more sick than other people if I get the virus. So, no one can come over, and none of us can leave.”

“How’d your mom let you come outside?”

“She’s asleep.” Lisa Marie picked at the grass below her. She liked the sharp tickle against her fingertips. “She sleeps a lot now. She usually just makes breakfast for Nick and me and then doesn’t come out of her room until dinner.”

“That’s weird. What do you think she does in there?”

“I think she’s sad.” Lisa Marie plucked a flower and put it behind her ear. “One day I think I heard her crying through the door.”

“My mom’s sad, too,” Gavin said. He took a seat in the grass beside her. He began to pick at the grass too. “She said my brothers and I are driving her crazy and told us to go outside and ride bikes.”

“She won’t let you back inside?”

Gavin shook his head.

“Must be nice. I wish I could spend all day outside. I’m outside now, and I’m not sick.”

“Lisa Marie!” Nick ran down the porch steps. “You’re not allowed to be outside!”

“Neither are you!”

“I’m out here to come get you.”

“No, you’re not,” Lisa Marie said. “You’re here because Gavin’s here.

“You’re the reason Mom won’t let me go outside. It’s not fair that you’re out here and I’m not.”

“You are out here.” Lisa Marie threw a handful of grass at her brother. The blades rained down and settled in the green.

“It’s your fault Mom’s always sad. It’s your fault Dad can’t come home anymore. It’s your fault we couldn’t go to Grandma and Grandpa’s for an Easter egg hunt this year. You ruin everything!”

Tears budded in Lisa Marie’s eyes. She ran back to the house, up the porch steps, and inside, slamming the screen door shut behind her.

Lisa Marie’s mother ran down the steps. Her hair was wispy and messy, unlike the way she used to wear it when she drove Lisa Marie to school or went to one of Nick’s soccer games.

“What’s that in your hair?” her mother asked.  She walked up to Lisa Marie and plucked the flower from behind her ear. She studied the bright pink petals in her palm before clasping them into a fist. Lisa Marie figured this wasn’t the best time to ask her mother what the flower was called.

“Lisa Marie, go to your room.”

Lisa Marie ran up the steps and into her bedroom. The same floral wallpaper lined the walls. It still peeled at the edges. Her bed still creaked when she sat on it. There was still a stain on her carpet from when Nick spilled grape juice last week. Nothing had changed.

She took the leaf out of her pocket. It was bent, and no matter how many times she flattened it, the creases would not come out.

Misty Yarnall wrote a five page story in third grade, and never stopped writing. Growing up in northern New York, she obtained sixteen awards for her short fiction and poetry, along with a publication in Thousand Islands Life. She is currently a Creative Writing major at Monroe Community College and is working on a novel.

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Filed under Fiction, Remote Voices

Carly Sorenson

The Biggest Drill

During high school, Missy worked part-time at Gino’s Pizzeria. The summer after she graduated, the manager promoted her to a full-time position. She got a new red T-shirt with GINOS stamped across the chest in white letters, and most days she wore a red bandana over her dark hair to match.

The guys from Connolly Carpentry showed up in July. That first time, Missy watched them emerge from the Catholic church across the street and point to Gino’s. One man shoved open the door with his shoulder and the shop filled instantly with their laughter and complaints.

“Christ, it’s hot in here.”

“You’re telling me,” said Missy. “What can I get you?”

“A cold beer, for the love of God.” The voice that answered was husky but high-pitched, with a thick Jersey accent. Missy looked for its owner and was surprised to see a woman on the crew. Or something like a woman, anyhow. Her hair was dark and curly, like Missy’s, but she kept it tucked under a Yankees cap instead of a bandana. She was short and broad, and the outline of a sports bra showed through her company T-shirt. She spoke like she was throwing something.

“Drill Bit, you better hope the foreman doesn’t catch you with a beer,” said one of the carpenters, bumping her with his elbow. He was a doughy blond guy with translucent eyelashes.

Drill Bit’s face split with a conspiratorial smile. “He won’t know if you don’t tell him.”

“He’s tired of your shit,” mumbled another carpenter. He looked the oldest, perhaps due to his bald pink head.

The crew sat on stools at the plastic counter and called for five beers and two pepperoni pies, then ripped into one another until their pizzas arrived. The guys were so big and the stools were so small that they looked like top-heavy beige flamingos suspended on one leg.

As Missy set their pizzas on the counter, redolent of hot oil and oregano, she said, “I haven’t seen you all before. Are you new in town?”

“We’re here on a job, refinishing the pews in that church,” said the blond carpenter.

“That one across the street?” Missy pointed.

He nodded.

“What’s wrong with them?”
“Nothing’s wrong,” the blond carpenter replied. “They just need a new coat of stain.”

“I’m glad we’re refinishing, not replacing them,” Drill Bit added. “Under all that wear, they’re beautiful old pews. Solid maple.”

“You won’t be so glad after a full day of scrubbing seats,” said the bald carpenter. He looked at Missy and winked. “She’s an apprentice, so she gets the shit jobs.”

“Thanks for that,” said Drill Bit, looking straight ahead into the kitchen.

To change the subject, Missy asked, “Is Drill Bit a nickname?”

Drill Bit lifted a slice off the pan, stretching ropes of mozzarella until they snapped. “Of course it is.” Having separated her slice from the pie, Drill Bit squinted at Missy’s name tag. “Is Missy a nickname?”

“No, that’s actually my name. Why do they call you Drill Bit?”

The bald carpenter threw an arm around Drill Bit’s shoulders and grinned. “It’s ‘cause she’s little, but she’s got the biggest drill on the crew!”

Drill Bit ducked out of his grasp and rested her elbow on the counter. Missy caught her eye, and Drill Bit shrugged.

The crew teased Missy, describing the potency of the enormous drill. With a tool like that, they assured her, Drill Bit could screw anything. Missy played innocent, asking them if it was difficult to refinish furniture and how long it took. They said they didn’t expect this job to take longer than a week.

For a while Drill Bit said nothing, she just smiled as Missy danced around their innuendos with practiced expertise. Under her eyes, Missy felt elegant and in the know. If there was any danger here, it came from her and not the five large men she worked with.

They finished eating within twenty minutes and left a big tip. Drill Bit was the last one out the door, and as she left, she said, “My real name is Casey. In case you wanted to know.”

Casey’s crew returned on Tuesday and then again on Wednesday. On Thursday, during a story about a beehive in the wall of a client’s house, Casey caught Missy staring from behind the register. “She knows what I mean,” said Casey. “I bet bees follow her everywhere thinking she’s a flower. Right, sweetheart?”

There was a beat of silence as Casey, her crew, and Missy’s coworkers waited for Missy to deflect. But she didn’t. She stood with a stupid smile on her face and color in her cheeks. Behind her, a cook chuckled. “I don’t think so,” she said at last.

Casey raised her eyebrows.

Missy cringed through the rest of her shift. She worried that Casey’s crew would stop coming in, but the next day they were back and more boisterous than ever. At first, she was relieved, but then she noticed a sharpness to the crews’ jokes, an edge directed at Casey. They shoved her and grinned at Missy and returned to the subject of Casey’s drill. They grew more insistent as their lunch hour waned. Before they left, Casey wrote her number on the back of the receipt and returned it to Missy.

“Let me take you out,” she said.

The crew snickered, ready for Missy to lay their doubts to rest.

Missy heard herself say, “Okay.”

As soon as the door slammed behind Casey, the cook whooped. “All right, Missy!”

“That’s enough,” said her manager. Missy didn’t dare turn her head. She didn’t want to catch his eye or see his tight, knowing smile. It was unprofessional to accept the phone numbers of cocky dykes on company time.

The other waitress, Kendall, sidled up and nudged her. “Look at you,” she said. She smiled but not at Missy. She grinned with her eyes on the door.

“I don’t know why I did that.”

“I think I do.”

“That’s enough, Kendall,” said the manager.

Kendall lowered her voice. “All this time I’ve been dishing about my boyfriend, and you never had anything to say. Now I know why.”

“It’s not like that,” said Missy, slapping her palm on the counter over Casey’s receipt. She dragged her palm to the edge of the counter and let the receipt drop into the trash can below.

Behind them, the cook laughed. “So, what? You said yes to not hurt her feelings?”

“You’re too sweet, Missy,” said Kendall. “You better learn to say no or people will take advantage.”


Missy pocketed the receipt when she took it out of the trash. After work, as she walked home along the highway, she pinched and worried the paper, wondering what to do. Kendall had offered to drive her, but Missy refused because she didn’t want to be interrogated.

It took her forty-five minutes to reach the narrow clapboard house where she’d grown up. She sat on the steps out front, peeled off her sweaty jacket, and fished out the receipt to take a closer look. To her horror, she saw that the ink had smeared, obscuring Casey’s phone number. The fives resembled sixes and the ones could have been sevens or vice versa.

Once she realized some smudged ink might prevent her from calling Casey, she stopped wondering what to do with Casey’s number. Missy knew she wanted to call her, she just needed to figure out how. On the same receipt, below the smudged number, she wrote out as many possible combinations as she could think of. She swapped fives for sixes and ones for sevens, keeping the legible numbers constant. Then she dialed each possibility on her smartphone, one by one, until she heard Casey’s voice on a voicemail recording. Missy hadn’t expected Casey to pick up anyway—she didn’t know anyone her age who picked up calls from random numbers, and Casey didn’t look more than a few years older.

Casey here. You know what to do.

“Hey,” Missy said after the beep. “It’s Missy. From the pizza shop. I just thought I would call.” She hung up because she didn’t know what else to say, and fretted until she felt her phone vibrate in her back pocket during dinner.

She bolted up from the table.

“You okay?” asked her dad, pausing with a can of beer halfway to his lips.

“Sit down,” her mom demanded. “We’re saying grace.”

“It’s my friend,” said Missy, improvising. “She needs homework help.”

“Didn’t you graduate?” quipped her older sister Bree.

“Yeah, but she didn’t,” Missy snapped.

“Sit down,” her mom said again. “We’ll say grace and then you can go.”

Missy bowed her head, heart pounding, and listened to her dad recite a prayer in Polish.

Bless us, O Lord, and these, Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty.

The prayer was short, so Missy had time to get to her bedroom before she answered the phone.

“Hey, Missy. Sorry I missed you before.”

“It’s okay! No problem at all.”

“Is this a good time to talk? You seem out of breath.”

Missy made an effort to slow her breathing. “No, no. Now’s a good time. What’s up?”

Casey laughed. “I guess—I want to know if you want to see me. When we’re both off the clock.”


When Missy didn’t elaborate, Casey asked, “So…are you free tomorrow night?”

“You mean Saturday? Saturday I’m free.” She paused, then forced herself to continue. “Let’s drive somewhere new. I’m sick of Bayonne.”

“Yeah, yeah. I’ll think of someplace,” said Casey. “Is that where you live, Bayonne? Can I pick you up?”

Missy struggled to think of a suitably anonymous meeting place. Her house was out of the question, as was Gino’s Pizzeria. In the end, she gave the name of a local Korean grocery because none of her parents’ friends shopped there.

As soon as she hung up, Missy felt overwhelmed by the task of dressing for their date. In high school, she’d dressed in whatever clothes her peers wore, noting the most popular styles of blue jeans and ballet flats. She saved her paychecks and bought the right brand of backpack. She gravitated toward shirts with brand names splashed across the front. Now that she worked full time she wore her Gino’s T-shirt almost every day.

But with Casey, she couldn’t rely on context to dress. She didn’t know Casey from high school, and she certainly couldn’t wear her employee uniform on their date. The thought of dressing like Casey, in Carhartts and flannel, crossed her mind. But she couldn’t imagine wearing Casey’s clothes any more than she could imagine Casey in a dress. The image embarrassed her and brought to mind how appalled she had been by Casey’s appearance that first day in the pizza shop. Or maybe she wasn’t appalled—maybe that was just the name she gave to feelings of another kind.

After dinner, Missy decided to wear sandals, shorts, and her church cardigan, buttoned up to hide the little gold cross she wore around her neck.

The following evening, Casey picked her up and drove north along the Hudson River, stopping at Liberty State Park. From there they could see the backside of the Statue of Liberty,  as well as some of lower Manhattan across the water. Casey parked the car and bought two ice cream cones from a truck. Then they crawled under a railing and found a place to sit on the rocks, with the river just a foot away. The sun set behind them, leaving the cityscape to glitter against a dim eastern sky.

“Have you always lived in Bayonne?” asked Casey, licking a drop off the side of her ice cream cone. Tonight she wore a clean shirt and jeans in addition to her usual Yankees cap.

“Pretty much.” Missy smiled. “You know the church you’re working on? I grew up going to that church.”

Casey grinned and said, “No way!”

Missy remembered her first communion, standing at the altar in a frothy gown. She remembered her first bittersweet sip from the communal goblet, and the ham hocks her mom brought to the potluck after the service. That night, her parents gave her the little gold cross she wore every day, more out of habit more than devotion.

“The windows are beautiful,” Casey continued. “And so are the pews, with the new stain and all. Do you like going there?”

“I go because I’ve always gone. My mom likes it.”

“And you like going to church with her? Living with her?”

This question struck Missy as condescending. “What do you mean?” she asked

“I just meant, how is that like for you? Tell me about your family.”

“My family,” said Missy, running a curl between her fingers. “Well, my parents are Polish immigrants. My dad is an electrician and my mom is very Catholic.”

Casey raised her eyebrows.

Missy braced herself for more questions about her beliefs, about her mother, but none came. Relieved, she added, “My mom and my sister always butt heads.”


Missy rolled her eyes. “A million reasons. Stupid reasons. I think Bree will be happy once she has kids of her own to boss around.”

“Oh, she wants to be the boss. I get it, I’m like that too.”

Missy felt a little thrill. Then she felt embarrassed and exposed. What was she doing on a dark riverbank with a woman who dressed like a man? Her mother thought she was at Kendall’s house. She should be at Kendall’s house. If Casey had picked Missy up from her house rather than the Korean grocery, would her mom have shaken Casey’s hand?

To distract herself from hypotheticals, Missy said, “Let me tell you about my sister. When I was little, we would play house and she would make me be the dog.”

“That’s mean.”

“It was! Bree would be the mom, our friend would be the dad, and she’d get a doll to be the baby.”

“She couldn’t let you be the baby?”

“No! I had to be the dog. She made me drink from a cup on the floor—”

Casey laughed so hard Missy had to stop the story.

“You shouldn’t laugh so hard at my sad story,” she teased, once Casey had recovered.

“It’s not the story that’s so funny. It’s your delivery.”

“My delivery?”

“Yeah,” said Casey, looking from her to Manhattan. “Like at the pizza shop, when my crew was making dick jokes. You went along with it, all sweet and simple until you looked at me. Then the joke was on them. You know what I’m saying?”

“Not really.”

“It’s not a bad thing. When I first saw you, I thought you were pretty and mysterious. But I didn’t know you were funny until later.”

Missy looked down at the Hudson River. She was flattered and flustered, but at the same time she felt criticized. Like she’d been caught in a lie. Missy changed the subject. “Where did you grow up?”

“I live in Newark,” said Casey, pulling down the brim of her Yankees cap. “I have an apartment and a couple roommates.”

Missy waited for elaboration, then asked, “But where are you from?”

“Trenton. I haven’t been back in a while, though”

A drop of sweat slid down Missy’s spine. Had Casey’s family rejected her? She decided not to press any further and instead pointed across the water. “Do you ever work there?”

“In Manhattan?” Casey laughed bitterly. “ No. I’m not ready for a Manhattan job, and if my crew keeps giving me grunt work, I never will be.”

“So you’ve never been?”

“I go to Manhattan every chance I get. Mostly weekends,” said Casey, resting her hand on the rock beneath them, behind Missy’s back, barely touching her. “You should join me sometime.” The phrase was heavy with bravado, so different from the gesture, which was cautious and shy.

Tenderness welled in Missy’s chest, and longing. She leaned back, and Casey’s arm stiffened to support her weight. Casey’s fingers curled around her hip and Missy put her hand on Casey’s thigh. She felt muscles tense beneath her hand as she stared across the water, picking out blinking pearls of light, square panels of light, rhinestone strips of light, white-hot balls of light. Rows of windows glistened like scales. She felt the rough cotton of Casey’s jeans and the promise of soft skin underneath. She turned away from the lights and toward Casey, tried to kiss her but missed her mouth in the dark, getting her cheek instead and clicking teeth. Casey’s hands smelled like some kind of wood, maybe maple, and water rushed past them toward the sea.

“I can tell you more if you want,” Casey mumbled.

Missy giggled.

“I can tell you everything I know about Manhattan—the communist bookstore in the Bowery, the lesbian bar that doesn’t card, the best cannoli you ever—”

Missy’s giggles turned to snorts as she collapsed into Casey’s arms.

“Stop laughing, I’m serious. The best cannoli you ever had.”

“Shut up, shut up,” said Missy, pulling Casey’s face to hers.

But as soon as Casey shut up, Missy heard footsteps on the path above. She looked up and saw a figure hurry by, growing smaller already in the distance.

“What’s wrong?” asked Casey.

Missy sat up and adjusted her cardigan. “I heard someone.”


“I know a lot of people in this area. I’m just nervous.”

“I thought you lived in Bayonne.”

“I do, but some people from my church live here.” She paused. “And I’m not gay, you know.”

Casey adjusted her cap, ran a hand over her ponytail, and gave a short laugh. “No?”


“So you kissed me, what? For the hell of it?”

“No,” Missy blurted. She paused, searching for the words that would manage Casey’s reaction. “I just—I wanted to try it.”

“You were nicer at the pizza shop.”

Missy felt her throat close.

“At least you smell good. You smell like pizza crust.”

“Stop it.” Her voice wobbled.

“Aw, sweetheart.” Casey squeezed her knee. “Can I drive you home?”

Missy sniffled and nodded.

They scrambled off the rocks and back onto the path, where street lamps and a few pedestrians made Missy’s palms sweat and eyes burn. Casey unlocked the car as they approached and opened the door on the passenger side.

As Casey walked around the front of the car to the driver’s seat, Missy blurted, “That wasn’t right, what I said. I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay.” Casey paused to kick the front tire of her car. With her eyes on her work boots, she said, “I did think this would make a cute story, though.”

Missy gripped the edge of the car door. “What do you mean?”

“Like, if it worked out between us, if you were the waitress that I met on my lunch break. That would be a cute story.”

On Sunday morning, Missy walked into church and gasped.

“You okay?” her dad asked.

Her mother pulled on her arm. “Missy, you can’t stop in the middle of the aisle.”

“Look at the pews,” said Missy.

“What about them?” said Bree.

“Oh! They’ve been refinished,” said her dad, nodding. “I think Father Kaminski mentioned that was gonna happen last week. Looks nice.”

Missy followed her family to the front of the church. They sat in their usual pew, three rows from the pulpit on the left-hand side. The organ music tapered off and the priest began to speak, but Missy wasn’t listening. She stared down at the pew itself, at the wood beneath her fingertips, wood she would have called ‘yellow’ just last week. Now she saw tiger stripes in its glossy surface, flashes of bronze and gold, glistening scales, luminous as pearls. Solid maple, Casey had said. Beautiful.

Missy felt her mom’s nails bite into her shoulder. She winced and looked up at the priest.


Carly Sorenson is managing editor of Italics Mine​, a student literary magazine at SUNY Purchase College. She has interned for Melville House Books, Langtons International Agency, and Montez Press Radio. She works part-time as a bookseller and writes frustrated love stories. 

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Filed under Fiction

Gabrielle Esposito

Resting Wings

On Valentine’s Day, it snows and you ask me to walk across campus to Narragansett Hall, because you want to see me even though we’re not dating. I must’ve lost my spine in the holiday rush, so I say I will and walk one mile through the windy cold to see you. I’m numb by the time I make it to the dorm, and when I text you to say that I’m standing outside waiting, you tell me you’re not there but you’re coming, that I should wait. I do—two words I used to want to say to you.

Fifteen minutes go by. Snow gathers on top of my head, melts, and gathers again. I’m shivering on a bench that grows wet underneath my body. I don’t go anywhere, because if I were strong enough to leave you, I would’ve done it two years ago, the first time you left me alone in your room while you went out on a Friday night, got drunk, and threw up in the recycling bin. We are semester-lovers, a convenience that distracts from the fact that we are far from home, and there is physically no one to say “I love you,” except us to each other. Words easily formed on mouths but so rarely meant nowadays, especially by me.

I tell myself I’ll leave if you don’t show up in the next five minutes, but of course you materialize. You have a strange habit of appearing when you sense my patience waning.

Hello, gorgeous, you say. Your smile isn’t as white as snow—it’s yellow like the tobacco you smoke. I taste THC on your tongue; on your lips, a hint of cocaine grit. A cocktail of drugs, though you prefer keg beer found in basements or that barn down on North Street, the one with the space heater near the entrance.

Hey, I say. And I know I’ll be around you for the next couple of hours, until I get hungry, or we disagree about something, or you want to go smoke. Then we’ll go our separate ways until you text me and I misplace my spine again.

I have something for you, you say. From the inside of your jacket, you pull out a yellow rose. I blush, returning heat to my face. I saw some Alpha Chi Omega girls selling roses in the college union when I went to get my mail this morning, and I secretly hoped you would buy me one, because I feel like you owe me that much.

Thank you, I say. I hug you because I know I should, but also because I want to. The idea that you thought of me today is enough to make me forget the times you left me alone to get high or drunk or meet friends who happen to be girls. All those cool girls you tell me about, the ones who smoke and drink while I stay inside during cold nights—I forget all of my petty jealousy, and perhaps my better judgement, as I hold the rose in my hand. The stem is strong and waxy on my fingertips, the petals unfurled in maturity. Something beautiful to act as candlelight in the places where you rest.

You’re welcome, you say. I stole it from a bouquet in the chemistry office.

Oh, is all I can think to say. The glow around your gift fades away fast. In the next few seconds, the cold finds a way to chill my bones even through my new winter jacket. As you pull me into Narragansett Hall, I look down at the rose and wonder if I want something that doesn’t belong to me.

The rose winds up hanging upside down on my wall with sticky blue tack, the kind kindergarten teachers use to hang up arts and crafts. A week passes, and the stem begins to collapse. Then the petals wilt and crinkle until they are nothing but a ball of dead yellow. The rose is better this way—present, but non-functioning. Not that a rose ever has any other purpose except for aesthetics.  Still, killing the rose makes me feel like I have some type of control over you, who conducts this relationship that’s not really a relationship, but used to be, back in the summer.

Now, we just hole ourselves up in your room for hours, doing nothing except lying on an uncomfortable mattress and watching comedy shows that are pungent with cruelty—your humor, not mine. Your arm wrapped around me and my head, a head filled with thoughts of being elsewhere, on your chest. Would if I could, go back two years, when I first met you outside Putnam Hall by chance, introduced by a guy in my dorm who happened to be showing me around campus. Back then, the light in your eyes had nothing to do with the sun but the way you saw life: a playground full of obstacles that you could overcome. Would if I could, go back to the night you held my hands and told me that life is a beautiful thing that needs to be shared with someone.

These days, your eyes are dulled by smoke. You’ve become jaded because being a senior chemistry student in college is harder than being a sophomore, and you’re constantly struggling with what you want to do—party—versus what you need to do—study. Your vices always win. You are a predictable creature of habit, but your temper is unexpected. When I see you, I never know who I’m going to meet: a figure made of smoke, or someone stressed because he didn’t do the assignment that was due two days ago.

When I’m with you, I feel the restlessness everywhere in my body. My muscles ache to move, but I’m afraid if I do you’ll get the impression that I don’t want to be with you. Even though this is true, I can’t tell you because you’re far away from home, too. Psych 101 has me thinking that your drinking and drugs is a way to express self-hatred. I’m afraid to pull away, afraid to give you a reason to try to find ways to numb the pain of a separation. Because if nothing else, I’ve become a habit to you, a semi-solid fixture of your life. And maybe I’m clinging to you because I’ve accepted you as a part of this college campus, and I’m afraid something would be missing without you. I’m as responsible for wallowing in our toxic nature as you are.

It’s the middle of March, and I’ve begun to hate you. I’ve started talking to someone else, a quiet and gentle person who loves writing but not reading, a sin I forgive because when he kisses me, he holds the back of my head as if he’s afraid to let me fall away. The first night we’re together, you’re at a party. When I saw you earlier, you’d taken a capsule full of powdered mushroom, and told me you wanted to begin a new world order without money so you can end homelessness.

I’m not thinking about this when I first kiss him. In fact, I don’t think about you at all, and when it’s over and I’m resting my head against his chest—so different from yours—I don’t feel any smudge of guilt. In the morning, I wonder if I’m sociopathic and realize I’m not. My emotions and patience are like a suicidal jump: an expansive, wind-rushing headspace until something snaps. Skull against ocean rock.

It’s been six months since the summer, and it’s hard to remember the way life was when it was warm. But I remember what the summer was like, waiting for a beheading, waiting for our relationship to die. We killed it together one night in July over FaceTime, decided we couldn’t keep screaming at each other—our throats were sore. I was stupid to see you the first day back on-campus of our fall senior semester. I should’ve pulled away when you went to kiss me in the elevator, but I was lonely, and starving for the gentle touch of a hand that wasn’t mine. To feel a heat that wasn’t mine, someone outside of myself. So now we exist in gray light, an afterlife. If nothing else, we persist because it is impossible to kill something already dead. It is impossible to say, I’m breaking up with you when there is nothing to break.

April comes and the cold weather starts to break just enough to remind me that I won’t be on this college campus forever, and neither will you. In May, you will graduate in a morning ceremony and I will graduate a couple hours later in a ceremony dedicated to the arts. Our separate ceremonies are just the beginning of a larger separation. As I begin to realize the temporary state of our relationship, I get more restless. You fall to the backburner as I begin to think about life outside of college, the next step.

It’s easy to see the distance between us when we were once so close. We worked to occupy each other’s space by laying on top of one another, sharing breath. You guess the reason. Your old intelligence shines through when you ask, Is there anyone else?

If I had less cushion between my bones, I would’ve said yes. Believe that I think about telling you, about ending this stupid merry-go-round of a relationship. Trust that I want to be honest with you, but think about the ways in which you could be cruel to me. I think about how small campus is, and the fact that this one mile stretch of academic buildings isn’t the real world, that you’ll know where I live because college is just an incubator for old teenagers and young adults, a stagnant place with moving fixtures. I think better about opening my mouth to tell you I’ve been visiting someone else in my head, heart, and body.

No, I say. I lie to you, a person I once let sit in the cavern of my ribs. I don’t feel bad about lying because you don’t believe me anyway; you just don’t have any evidence. I’ve been careful about keeping myself safe and guarded. At the end of the day, what right do you have to be mad at me? We both see the way girls teeter-totter to parties with their makeup glowing, dresses skin tight. We both know I don’t sleep over on Friday or Saturday nights when you go out, and we both know how promiscuous you are, and the way I haven’t been letting you in lately. That I’ve been pushing you away when you reach for me in the night, an action I can’t recall but feel a small swell of relief over when you tell me.

You use your suspicion against me, again and again. After we’re done playing pretend-relationship, as you’re leaving to go smoke, you say things like, “Are you going to suck his dick now?”

No, I’m going to be alone, is always my response, and it’s always what I do, after I take a shower to rinse off the feeling of your fingernails. There is nothing sweeter than to just have a moment to myself, a real breath without anyone wondering who I’m breathing for.

April ends, and May comes with seventy-degree weather and flowers, as if it’s apologizing for the colder months and just wants to make things right. I spend time with him while you’re out at parties on Fridays and Saturdays.

He comes to my dorm room, and we make ourselves drinks. I swallow mine fast and collapse onto the bed, where he circles my body. We fit together like filigree on lace.

I’d like to come back and see you, I say.

That would be nice, he says. When I graduate and leave, we’ll text a little, meet up once and then fall from each other’s contact lists. There is no budding relationship here, and I will come to resent him and myself for not trying harder to make something like our gentle moments last. But for now, I have hope that I will see him again and this makes it easier to leave you.

A few days before graduation, I want to press fast-forward but experience each nano-second of campus life because I know this phase of my life is about to end. The night before graduation, I let you sleep over out of respect for an old tradition. You come in at two o’clock in the morning and sit outside my dorm room composing a love letter that I will find three weeks later in a box of my books.

The letter makes me cry for old reasons because you sound so gentle in the words rounded by your hand. But I also cry at the irony of your wishes for me: find someone who respects you; remember that you are worth so much. I cry because I’m angry at a past self who stayed silent for too long, who couldn’t help you. I cry because the girl—the woman I am now– can hardly stand you. Yet, I almost feel like I should thank you. My reserve for trust is shallow, my patience crescent moon thin, except when it comes to myself. I’m patiently awaiting the moment I forgive myself for not walking away from you sooner. I trust that I won’t make the same mistake in trusting another person like you again.

We graduate, you in the morning and me in the afternoon. When I’m finished with my ceremony, I leave with my family in a caravan of cars. You text me: I want to take pictures with you. When you call me, I don’t answer.

I’m gone, I text. Sorry.

Only I’m not. With my leather folder in my hands and my graduation cap still on, I feel nothing except a glow inside my ribs where you once sat. I lose the rose you gave me in the move, a rose that was probably grown in a nursery and artificially pollinated by botanists and not insects—the winged ones who land on petals and then take off, some of the pollen sticking to their fur.

Flowers and insects.

Butterflies are sometimes tethered by scientists and placed in wind tunnels for observation. Flowers are used as sweet bait, an incentive for the butterflies to keep flying. The exhaustive lengths butterflies will fly for the chance to taste something that is more than food, something that is close to the essence of life.

I understand butterflies in wind tunnels following flowers. I understand the pointlessness of flapping in one place and still hoping to move. I know, I know, I know that I’m not the butterfly, or the wind, or the flower, but if I’ve learned anything from this sick experiment, it’s that being tethered happens to all of us.

Gabrielle Esposito is a recent graduate from SUNY Geneseo’s creative writing program. She was a fiction editor for Gandy Dancer in Fall 2018. Her work has been published in The Manhattanville Review, Aurora, and ZAUMXS. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Library Science at SUNY Albany.

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Filed under Postscript

Kiel M. Gregory


Reddened sclera surrounding black mirror iris

matched the heavy hollow color of his pupil.

I, his son, only first met the man at sixteen.

He taught me mornings are for work,

evenings are for smoking pot.

He taught me how to turn powder into rock.

Use a cold penny, he said—

The magnetic property of copper attracts the oily residue. 

He taught me how to fish

in the crook of the elbow.

Release the tie-off first, then depress the plunger, he said—

Shooting while tied-off, you might blow a vein that way. 

He taught me how to shave:

with cold water and against the grain.

He never taught me to hold a door for a woman,

long division,

or how to turn a wrench.

My father chain-smoked Camels,

and I am a quick learner.


Kiel M. Gregory lives in Sackets Harbor, NY, and studies English literature, philosophy, and creative writing at SUNY Oswego. His prose and verse appear in Lips, Paterson Literary Review, Furrow, Gandy Dancer, Great Lake Review, Black River Review, and elsewhere. In addition to writing, his interests include skydiving, cooking, and reading classic and contemporary speculative fiction. Connect with him online @kiel.mg.

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Filed under Poetry

Evan Goldstein

Litany in April

“The prayers of all good people are good.”—Willa Cather, My Antonia


The cold draft from the windowsill dark is good.

The morning is good and the sunlight

is good. You, waking, are good, and the sleep

in your eyes is good. The coffee is hot

and the microwave is loud, and that

is good. The dog, beside you

studying the ground, and you beside it,

studying the grass, are good. The smoke

that vapors from the pipe on your roof

into the gray sky is good. The churches

are empty, the playgrounds bordered

with police tape. Recorded bells chime

the hour, the chalk fades into the sidewalk.

You bury people in good dirt. The price of gold

and houses was good. Your job was good

the shopping cart with the broken wheel

you dragged to the ravine was good, and your clothes

inside it were good. The coffee can that held

the coals was good. The forest was good

and the fire was good, the city burned good.

In the Walmart parking lot you put up good

sturdy tents, and the food you shared

was good. The war was good, and their deaths

were good. The words were good

so the nation was good.

Your kindness was good, your anger

is good. You were singing on the downtown bus

in the clear noon light, and your leg dragged

behind you like a shadow, and you were good.

You are home with the small, golden hours of the day

where the light suspended in the dust shines good.

Out in the street with a million others, working in the dark

you sweat good: You simmer in the dawn.

Evan Goldstein is a writer and photographer living in Salt Lake City, Utah. He will be attending the Iowa Writers’ Workshop for an MFA in poetry in fall 2020. Evan grew up in the Hudson Valley: He misses trees, corner delis, humid summers, New York City, and John Prine.

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Filed under Poetry

Evan Goldstein

Salt Lake City

And I have much to say

here in our small

silent kitchen. 

The dry plates on their shelves

the kettle simmers over

low flame. Outside, chickadees

flit between branches 

and fences calling 

out. Water accepts 

heat and boils.

In the bedroom you turn, waking

in soft sheets. Remember the sound

the first warm breeze in March

carrying summer into our nights.

We laid in the grass under the red western sky.

Have we ever been younger?

Evan Goldstein is a writer and photographer living in Salt Lake City, Utah. He will be attending the Iowa Writers’ Workshop for an MFA in poetry in fall 2020. Evan grew up in the Hudson Valley: He misses trees, corner delis, humid summers, New York City, and John Prine.

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Filed under Poetry, Remote Voices

Julia Rose Merante

listen: to give attention to one’s sound

If sounds are only vibrations    how are they stuck

             inside my head &

why     are they telling me how to

                        unmake my body?

            They pulse,

warning             me to kneel & pray as though the grace

            of the world hangs from my teeth.

The vibrations tell me: my body is     condemned—

            I pretend          like I have an underbite

            to resist                            this instruction

but the voices persist—

                           my jaw aches.

I poke at my belly button        trying to feel

where I came from. I trace my collarbone

trying to understand   my slender bone structure.

I look at my hips                              and sigh


             I wish I could

                   go swimming

             in a stranger’s spit.

Julia Rose Merante is a senior English (creative writing) major at SUNY Geneseo. She studies poetry and has two minors: biology and human development. You can find her work featured in Equinox, 30 North, and Glass Mountain Literary Magazine. Next year, Julia plans to attend law school to use her communication skills in forever righting wrongs. She wants to keep telling stories, learning new words, and watching crime movies with her mom.

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Filed under Poetry