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Grind

by Haley Winans

After Diane Suess

I drove all the way to Bluff City and ditched Old

Bay for dry rubs and steamed

 

crabs for BBQ. Now blues is my water

and soul is my soap. I bathe in the lightshow

 

bridge that looks like icicles melting

over the Mississippi. A little girl bikes in circles

 

carving currents around me, rusty chain flickering

like cicada wing symphonies. I prop my bones up

 

against a pole and let the flow of a lone

guitar player pull my tear ducts apart like pork

 

shoulders. I was born in brackish, now I’m lathered

in landlocked but I can still cup my hands and collect

 

rain and spit whispers of prayers. My balding bunny

is peppered in fleas so I coat him in Dawn

 

and tweeze the ones burrowing into his feathery

patches of fur. He stares at me like a wide-eyed chicken all pink

 

and plucked. It feels like a baptism; a baby sitting stoic

and naked, not knowing what we are trying to protect

 

it from. This moment is far more momentous

than a monument, like I am dipping my toes

 

into something indescribably precious, a mirror-clear cistern

that looks bottomless even at the bottom. I keep passing

 

all these ghost town playgrounds cloaked in ginkgos

on my way to the vet and I can’t help but think we can filter

 

out all the fuck shit of the past with a fine-tooth

comb, squish the lifesuckers between our pruned

 

fingertips, and stop restlessly itching for relief.

Haley is a poet, artist, and gardener from Annapolis, Maryland. She has poetry published in Slipstream, the Scarab Journal, Red Cedar Review, The Shore Poetry, collages in 45th Parallel, and upcoming poems in Gutslut Press. She is a University of Memphis MFA candidate. She is a founding co-editor of Beaver Magazine and assistant poetry editor of The Pinch Journal. In all her realms of interest, she is heavily influenced by the intrinsic connection between humans and the environment, and the impacts they have on each other. In her undergrad, she studied Environmental Studies and Creative Writing, with specific focuses on environmental justice, sustainable agriculture, and poetry.

"May Catalogue" by Alex Sosebee

"Nighttime is to nectar as fable is to fox" by Amanda Hartzell​