my hands break open
platelets emerge and (s)tumble
rolling hills; bulbous apparitions
my eyes burn
i want to forget you, i want to forget you –
the worst kind of poison
self-inflicted, a bared nectarine
that cannot be cauterized
spilling its juice like this avalanche
from my hands.
we woke up with the light
a tone too bright and the air
a paler version of ourselves.
we had it coming
and repeatedly, the tentacles of
inclination and intuition
grazed at my belly with unkind
heeding; but i begged
i begged this time.
your mercury gaze encapsulated
the glue of the spaces
chewed with vigor; satisfied.
i bled, yielded to
your most malignant undertones.
i had it coming.

– by Elsa Starfish.Wolf

the unkind flower

in the mouth
anything can burn
folded sheets, asking nicely,
semblance of a previously
extended olive branch,
this hollow row of
snow-covered bricks.
her violet character
replaces emotional blasts
seen only at six minutes past
the hour on the darkest day,
the darkest day of summer
or just after
her third shot of bourbon,
eyes twisted, particles in motion.
the floral scent of aftershock
arranges old jars saved for
fallen petals.
we can adore her essence,
eulogize the garments of
her lamentations,
but there is no sweetening
the crouching foliage of
her undercover sting.

the unkind flower
– by Elsa Starfish.Wolf


There is nothing left to see.

Tarred wings of a blackbird.
A goldfinch. A mourning dove.

There is a bay of frozen water
that traps a pier in moment. I sit
next to it, waiting for movement.

In the middle of winter, I unearth
all flooring from the house. Wrench nail
from board until all walkable surfaces
fade. Stuff the mailbox with letters lacking
postage. Make breakfast out of eggshells
& salt.

There is nothing like the time we waste.
Spent years that consume our veins.
The minuscule moments that darken
eyes, & solidify reaction.

I have dreams of a Cold War.
Of weapons composed of silence.

I saw my death. It was a fleeting panic.
Glassy eyes glaring up from under a solid
surface. An escapade of belligerence.
Falling through a weak spot of ice,
& getting trapped.

I put my hands out, as if begging
for freedom more than breath.
As if the thought of dying wasn’t
terrifying as much as the thought
of standing still.


-by Jess June
Photo: “North Ave Bridge” by Ridire Quinn