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asking what would grow

out of us like hair

the reflection of gold

on grayblue january

car window smearing

the sunoco getting father away

i saw no faith in afternoons

no chances

coming home to open

cans of unnamed fish

watching lustily at how big her bites

wanting to feel an appetite of my own

encircling each object in its little history

dosing out from where it came

not knowing the name

of the person who

touched it first

septa token, i got high in new mexico mug,

the dollar store vase i wanted so badly

not knowing why

its narrow opening

barely big enough for a pen

swiping desirous on smear

years stashed in a box

every apartment caught

between nighttimes

their lastingness

when i wouldn’t sleep and they didn’t end

when i wanted them

only to end

the cat going into heat

young enough to be called baby

without excess affection

i stroke her for hours

down on the ground

murmuring gesture into her tailbone

her unibrow

thinking only rarely

of the dreck in the sink

or the price of the internet going up every month

i dream of being on the phone

arguing for a lower monthly bill

and my arguing makes it so the bill

for one hundred dollars a month

becomes one hundred dollars a day

i leak awake or not

a bowl to toss off memory

the center of an eyeball

fixing the magnitude of each ghost’s presence

tracing the sound of a horn across the city


when i was cut

and how

my dungeon master says

your soul doesn’t belong to you

someone else is in charge of it

only the hagfish lacks

a pineal gland

moving my head around

someone else’s innards

wanting to be goo

clinical as i am

stove on for days

warm and bubbling brown meat in red sauce

feeling at once

this clot

of slush

leaving the body

an afterthought

the cleric says

when we protect ourselves

when we defend—

i am just

glistening ok

EMMA BROWN SANDERS is a non-binary poet living in Philadelphia. They co-edit the tiny with Gina Myers. They are the author of multiple chapbooks and a full-length from Gauss PDF called A Fallow Channel (2020). Their work has appeared in bedfellows, Bone Bouquet, boneless skinless, Full Stop, Fungiculture, G U E S T, Prolit, The Rumpus and Tripwire, among others. Their poems have been nominated for Pushcart and Bettering American Poetry prizes.

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