Ren Gay

trailing weeds

The vines across brick destroying it from the outside

as they grow but

how beautiful to endless stretch towards nothing.


I spent the night pretending that the hard ground

did not spread an ache down to the bone

If I could have played along

I would have dug out a mandolin and

let a broken chord still sing freely,

echoing over the deserted forest


Once a therapist told me that I cannot let myself die

because there are trillions upon trillions of cells that depend

on my entire existence for their own life

and what is living but letting

someone else lean on you?


This year my mother grew morning glories

and in the middle of the night

something knocked over their trellis.

They kept growing all the same,

inching their way across the yard;

an infant crawling for the first time a man

pulling himself inch by inch towards the oasis


A birch tree downs itself in the middle of the road, impassable

synthetic polymer

Every thing contains a drop of misery;

which sip of the drink will hide it this time?

The homeopath told me that if one drop of his medicine was put into the ocean

the entire world would be healed.

With brine coating our tongues

we could live off salt and microplastics alone.


The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the size of Texas.

I’ve never been to either but I imagine

floating alongside the plastic and glass,

just another thing discarded.


I’ve never been good at floating on my back and

letting the water continue to live below me.

The vulnerability comes from not being

able to see your enemy coming.

I grew up in a landlocked state.

If I have my back to the oceans on either side

I will not see the moment they start to overtake the land.


Plasticine body face hair

Infants are being born with plastic already inside of them;

the bones of dinosaurs, the once green algae.

I am so grateful to be at the flux point.


Vanilla scent of plastic dolls.

I always wondered what it would be like

to catch the tiniest spark

and turn into a raging bonfire.

Return to plumes of smoke that fill the entire room

and create a presence that never comes out

no matter how hard you scrub.

take my love

Landslide seems to only play at the

most inopportune moments.

It wasn’t meant to be a love song

but that does not stop the bride from

walking down the aisle to it.


Driving home from the wedding I put

the radio on its highest volume and play

Landslide again, let the bass shake the frame

of my car. A police officer waves me over

to the side of the road to let a funeral pass.


A hundred bikers rev their engines

in time with the song, playing again on my radio.

Stevie’s voice barely audible over their grief,

the blue sky a mirror.


I start the song over and begin driving again,

count the number of roadkill in the middle

of the two lanes. The road has claimed

another victim in the morning.


By this afternoon the torso will crushed,

reduced to viscera indistinguishable from gravel.

A better person wouldn’t be afraid pull away

what is left, to drape

what remains with the most shroud-like garbage.


I pull lady slippers from the asphalt

and lay them atop the body. When the police

come back to tell me it is a federal crime to tamper

with the state flower I ask; do if they not

feel themselves getting older?

Ren Gay is a lesbian, autistic poet and has been twice nominated for the Pushcart prize. She is the author of the micro-chap The Hymenopterans (Ghost City Press 2021). Their work has appeared in journals such as Anti-Heroin Chic, The Laurel Review, Qu Literary, Ghost City Review, Gramma Poetry, FreezeRay Poetry, Persephone’s Daughters, and many others. She lives in Fargo , North Dakota with her two cats.