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As You Are Drying the Red Chili Peppers by Hollie Dugas

when I say I’m sorry

we moved to the desert

what I mean is

it’s too hot to pretend

that we know what we’re doing,

that the important thing to remember

about wastelands is they desiccate life

and what’s more intimate

than being loved to the point of madness─

what else could keep us together

in the same room, so close to the sun

sitting on stepstools and eating cheese

right off of our knives

out in the sagebrush,

we collect red flags like little rocks

in the grips of our shoes,

come home and pluck them out

on the sofa; you are the only witness here

there is no rain in this city

we sit at the window of our apartment

across from a theater that bears

my dead father’s name over the marquee,

our waterless lungs rapping

against the glass, and us waiting

for the time to come when the universe

lands on our fingers.


Hollie Dugas lives and teaches in New Mexico. When she is not writing poetry, she critiques novels and poetry in small writing workshops. Hollie has a knack for making language delicate. Her work was most recently selected to be included in Cactus Heart, The Common Ground Review, Adrienne, Under the Gum Tree, Folio, IP, Flint Hills Review, Slipstream, Tulane Review, Peregrine, and CALYX. She is currently a member on the editorial board for Off the Coast.

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