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
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.