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IR Online Poetry: “Explanation for Why We Have Fingerprints” by Sage Yockelson

“Explanation for Why We Have Fingerprints

by Sage Yockelson

you were born and they named you
Touch. your fingers cracked
eggs into bowls and you wondered,
Is this tragedy? but
the destruction of beauty
is an act of beauty. please wield this
fact like the knife that hides in your boot. it’s enough
to be wanted like an atmosphere wants to
weigh heavy on shoulders. enough to look
for your name dripped into someone else’s
palms. like everyone else, this is your first forever.
don’t worry. the destruction of a forever
is necessarily a violence but a violence
is not necessarily tragic. even rust is a thing
that grows. it flakes against your fingertips
and this, too, is compromise. you will cry
because this is the way you were built
and you were built to meet metal halfway.
so pull the knife out
of your boot and start scraping
the rust away. confess
that you have no idea what it means
to rebuild. you are young and
you have never said Yes yes but you have
felt like it. so what? you have a tongue
to cup your slippery name. two hands
to separate who you are
from who you want to be.

***

Sage Yockelson is a queer undergraduate creative writing and film student who lives in California (mostly) and New York (sometimes). They have previously had work published in The Ignatian, The Tishman Review, and Bad Movies Magazine, as well as online in FreezeRay Poetry.

 

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IR Online Poetry: “Y” by Carly Olszewski

“Y”

after Carl Phillips

by Carly Olszewski

Several questions past
that of when and where

laid a fork in the road
to say go, but Y

is still for the sturdy
turkey wishbone,

the new tree branch
growing outside

that slowly grows closer
to you, the gazer

out the window, not yet
the view those eyes

will meet. Y,
as in martini glass,

anyone’s fingers, any peace-
ful pair of two, my

arms above your head
reaching up, Y

water floods down, where
the two rivers

join, meeting, and
now, together. Y, not

look as the zipper moves
down the dress, or

as the necklace dangles
down the center of my chest,

but here too, when
the stethoscope counts

your half-living, half-dying
life, where I

sometimes trace along
the contour of your nose, up

across your eyebrows, and
think I decide to stay. Y is all

I keep meaning
to answer.

***

Carly Olszewski is a junior Biology major and pre-medical student at Stanford University. She is the Director of Recruitment and Volunteer Education at the local Veteran’s Hospital, as well as the copy editor for Stanford’s fashion and culture magazine, MINT Magazine. She enjoys running, hiking, and attending music concerts in her free time.

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IR Online Poetry: “To Heidi” by Shyanne Marquette

“To Heidi

by Shyanne Marquette

I wanted to run away with you.
You’d calmly smile and say
if you can’t count the spokes on the wheels
the train is going too fast to jump on.
There is too much to know about
your alternate life.
—Of the tracks on your skin or
how hospitals make you jumpy even though
you’ve taken more pills than
I can even pronounce.
I ask for your story and you hand me a novel.
You tell me not to bother being careful with it,
that the seams will come apart anyway,
like the time you broke your sister’s arm
when you told her that the branch was stable.
You’d just move that vibraphone mouth
and any word was music.
You couldn’t wait to outrun the
ostrich at the fair those many years ago
and you would have won too
with nothing but your flip-flops.
It’s almost not enough to ask for
you to run away with me.
There is too much life to live,
too many things to do.
I ask you again, and you just laugh
and say that five floors isn’t enough to kill you.

***

Shyanne Marquette is currently a sophomore Creative Writing major at University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is majoring in fiction but plans to double major in poetry as well. Her poem To Heidi is based on Shyanne’s family friend whom she idolizes in her strength and perseverance.

 

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IR Online Poetry: “Liquid Killer Queen” by John M. Brown

“Liquid Killer Queen

by John M. Brown

A whiff to sharpen
your senses,
a taste to blur
them to bliss.

Your senses
forget the ugly, banish
them to bliss.
It’s late and you should be sleeping.

Forget the ugly, banish
with this, my liquid killer queen.
It’s late; why aren’t you sleeping?
Now dip through the surface of sleep.

This, my liquid killer queen,
slips past dry lips and
dips through the surface of sleep
to shatter sharp cognizance.

Slip past dry lips;
it’s easiest when it takes only this
to shatter sharp cognizance.
Crush bodies with Holy Hits.

Easiest when it takes only this—
a whiff to sharpen your senses.
Crush bodies with Holy Hits;
learn the taste to blur them to bliss.

***

John M. Brown, a native of Southern Illinois, is a senior at Eastern Illinois University studying creative and professional writing. This is his first publication.

 

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IR Online Poetry: “The Talking Chalk” by Isabella Escalante

“The Talking Chalk

by Isabella Escalante

“Druble drow old rows,”
she drones, pointing her mono-nose
towards the blackboard
She picks up chalk,
and skrit-skrat-scratches across
so hard and so fast that the chalk screams,
“bloody murder!”

He prays to his chalk lord,
holy god of chalk, wailing
“Oh, god, please,
just let me the fuck out!
I have dreams of scribbles, trouble, and fresh pavement
that I need to live!”

It’s all in vain, though
He squeaks to the numb and the glazed,
the dumb and the blazed,
who watch him
get shaved down
to lesser versions of himself

Soon the chalk will lose his spunk,
and very soon after that,
he will be gone—
Reduced to insentient chalk dust
settled around the place he hated most

***

Isabella Escalante is a junior at the University of California Santa Cruz.