Shelf Life

Danae Younge


The milk                 y way is curdling—I think.

On the stove          or              the back corner of the fridge.

I can hear the spawned flame
like a million crickets,

illu                                      ding

to the world’s zippered silence, but they are just
screaming                      or                          singing hymns

blue flame like falling
sky-ink                          or                        sky,

like bowing
clay                               summits

But then again, voices growing from the gutters.
But then again, channel 8.
But then again, my breathing like a butterfly I couldn’t kill.

But then again, the arrogance of patented ruin/
                                                citrus acid.


I disrobed, religion                          an oversized sweater,
and have been naked ever since.

More and more now,
all I can see at night is a dairyman’s working finger,
his palms folding the faint sound
of disposability                          into wax like Gouda.

Diced paneer as shelves of velvet stars.

The world would bargain with a mirror:                                                                                                                       Name your price in bodies.

Danae Younge is a sophomore at Occidental College, an editor for Kalopsia Literary Journal, and an award-winning writer whose work has appeared/is forthcoming in over thirty publications across the US, UK, Canada, Pakistan, and internationally. Publications include Bacopa Literary Review, Salamander Magazine, Perhappened Magazine, Invisible City Literary Journal, as well as five worldwide print anthologies. She was a selected winner of National Poetry Quarterly’s annual competition in 2020 and her flash fiction piece, “Skeletons Don’t,” was long listed for Grindstone Literary’s international contest. You can read more of her work at and follow her on Instagram @danae_celeste_.