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Clouds forming cosmic rats—patchouli
were the first and last words I wrote in my physics notebook
in a stale lecture hall,
flooded with fluorescents too dim
for anything to grow on its own.
The off-color lecture preached
to justify the corpses we’ve unknowingly counted.
It’s not our fault.
We believed regardless of common sense—
regardless of the irony—
We were already rooted in our doomsday bunker.
My cramped and potted pothos still continues to grow thick vines
along my poorly sun-lit windowsill
despite my apathy to transplant it
from the thin plastic container that came from the Big-Y floral department
after finally bringing it home from the hospital
along with my father who came close to dying from colon cancer,
though really it wasn’t the cancer
that would have killed him.
The absence of sun
helped me to appreciate mornings not
dictated by artificial air encased in concrete walls.
I sip my loose-leaf tea
perched on the cool cement front stoop
until it gets cold and I will remember I am not a
My appreciation is still wedged between the drooping leaves and the dew,
the same dirge written everyday by the morning air.
The sun pretends to rise like the rest of us;
a failed mission.
The sunless sky bleeds from the horizon
mocking our earthly investment in blood.
Virulent beams will force themselves west
through the earth like hungry rats
until they flower in front of your grave.
To be snuffed like a candle just lit—
is to be spared the image of this country burning;
bloodless limbs uprooted
to fuel it.
I have dreams of flowers licking my tombstone.
I drown what’s left of them in white noise—
vaporize them with electric heat—
before the sun has its chance to burn up
what’s left of the night.
I was the meanest woman
I had known up until
I sat on the sofa and
watched the news, but all
I could focus on was the high-pitched
noise coming from the tube; it was
making me nauseous. Those pompous
bastards lisped their affirmation
of their path to nirvana funded and fueled
by dollars that hadn’t even been printed.
The skin tightened on my ribs
when I found
drinking in the kitchen window.
I was skilled at self-damnation.
I sat back down on the same sofa
and opened the bottle. I poured myself
a good-sized glass, though I didn’t even
It seems there is a lot to forget.
MUTE hovered and vibrated in the
right corner of the screen. The sterile blue
haze baptized the budding calendula
outside the opposite window.
I stepped out onto the deck because
I didn’t remember the last time I had
been outside. There was no point anymore.
Lights flickered from what
used to be the backyard. These were
our new stars now. Water filled
an old citronella candle; I would have
poured it out, but mosquitos
weren’t a problem anymore—
without the hills,
without the trees.
I grazed my fingers over my chapped lips
to remind myself I still haven’t eaten
I think it was 9PM by the looks of
the traffic, even though the flow
is always the same
around here now, no matter
what time of day. The cool hue
of electric light
poured out onto the lawn from
the refrigerator I must have
left open from just looking.
I wonder if any of the passing cars
knew that our house was still here,
or was the soft light extinguished
by the steady stream of
Expensive Women Finger Avocados with Red Plastic Nails
I stand in front of the open refrigerator because I have enough money
to pay my electric bill or buy groceries but not both.
My attention shifts from the empty shelves to the congested intersection outside
that stirs the kitchen from the inside out.
The flow of the traffic is always the same around here now,
no matter what time of day.
I take a trip to the store, mostly to get away from watching the traffic.
My unfilled cart ticks past miles of over-branded cans and raw meat.
Her almost perfect body hesitates on the cement path,
I see her through the glass doors,
and she makes a beeline for the produce.
Across from her now, I am mesmerized by the even sway of her legs like fresh wheat,
and the authoritative clack of her high-heels on the laminate.
She swaddles the new fruit in a thin veil of green plastic
and I do the same. The golden hair above her kneecaps is exaggerated in the fluorescents
making her steps a bit more ethereal.
She thumbs a pock-marked avocado, and the muddy green skin apologizes
to her blushing fingers.
I ignore the tollbooth lanes of checkout lines, merge through the sliding doors,
and contemplate the dew on her cheekbones and the uneven cement.
As I climb the stairs, I hear
the refrigerator doors swing with the flow of traffic.
I must have left them open from just looking.
Kathryn Eichner is a senior at the University in Connecticut. She is double-majoring in Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies and English with a concentration in Creative Writing. Her recent work has appeared in The Long River Review.