my allergy pills

come with a warning label: may

cause depression or severe

mood swings   my head throbs like the grinch’s

holiday heart   there’s snot on the sleeve of my hoodie

i am sick you are sick we are all sick

we practice building artificial hearts with

fumbling hands

we are palm trees stealing the sunlight

from other plants

our roots are tangled by interminable

insecurities      crooked halos sit on our modern skulls

i was once an island staring

at my reflection

in the water

the original Narcissus but with less beauty

i know there’s a riddle in there somewhere

but i’m too lazy to search for it


my lineage began                    with a question mark

my uncle tells me we have native american blood

that my great   great    great

grandmother died of fire-

breathed fury

a snake turned stake in her heart


several of my ancestors were named

thankful           i’d like to sit down to dinner

with each one of them            wipe the drool from their mouths

find out

where it all went wrong




i understand


the language of water

her insistence              erupt then recede then worship

the eagerness of our muscles              straining

against one another                 a gentle delirium         i can’t believe

this delicacy is my life


this is immortality

this is where contagions go to die

i’ve never seen wings             as long as yours          how many years did you keep

them tucked away                   afraid to harm the clouds        or afraid to get too close


the sun is freezing to the touch

i come from a place where frostbite

is treated by smiling

as hard as you can

count my teeth           with your tongue                     give the devil

something to care about

Marisa Crane is a San Diego-based writer and editor. Her work has appeared in Apeiron Review, Blue Bonnet Review, Pigeon Pages, among others.

June 8, 2018

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