i squirrel away my hurts into peanut shells that i hide at the root of my knurled spine,
all my snot-bubbles, all my stubbed toes,
all the times i let my teeth ferment in my spit without brushing before bed,
the bits scabbed over by fiber, in neat pairs,
stick the nightmares next to nightmares, separate under skin, i’ve never used a nutcracker,
i break my own jaw,
and dance in jerks and heaves, to amy winehouse, when i’m ready to open for the orange moon,
it’s funny though, tragically,
how everything i’ve ever tasted has been tasted before, we’re all slurping instrumentally
at the air between ice-cubes
in our coffees or boba teas, dripping down the aisles of a bookstore of discarded maybes,
which are just the contortions
of letters we scrawled in the intestines of our bookmarked body, because we’re flowering up,
because time is heavy, tragically,
and i love just how little i can see with my glasses, i have to touch the world now,
i have to “write characters” in my poems,
swim in the synapses of fingertip tips, unshell the worries, taste the thick swirls,
trudge through the night with one,
knead laughs from laughless reality-tv with others, i find romance in the exhales,
in the ripples after the plunk, tragically,
i try so hard to be funny, but my tongue spins a laugh-rhythm like gun-armed flies,
improv tragedy slings from body, to body,
to the pork-belly, blistering in my mother’s oven, and i wonder how many hurts the pig held,
and whether it remembered the slop,
or if it could read kurt vonnegut or emily dickinson with the same fear of shattering,
or if it ogled at the moon,
broke its own jaw to let the butcher with a dead son and a stone-grater accent (you know it),
rip its peanut-center from the inside,
as a sort of revenge, as a sort of reverence, as a sort of chuckle, nightmares attract nightmares,
the pork-belly tastes silent, tragically,
and the person i love is getting on a plane, so we spend the night placed under the moon,
we crack open our jaws to each other,
and the hurt smells caramelized, like pork-belly, gun-armed flies scrambling to consume us,
soggy-toothed, drill-tongued fruitflies,
we’re swatting at them like lingerie, like two swollen halves of an orange begging for unpeeling,
and there is no unshell, no crack, no dryness,
just the sponginess of knowing that all peanuts can get closer, we can softly twirl into oneness,
a pig in grassblades, satisfied, watching
the whole of the moon open into our laughing pains, we’re bloodletting our mushy heart-hurts,
and when we split, one half flies away,
dandelion seeds pat against the windshield towards the cold house i will sleep in, and i laugh,
because i know my half hates the cold of snow,
this is summertime, and the ice-cubes in my tea melt and i laugh, i laugh, i break my jaw,
i tassel my head out of my window, and bloom in-future,
in caramelizing dread, in the gushing hysteria of maybes — nightmare and poetry, interlinked.

Writer | Aidan Cooper ’26 |
Editor | Jihyun Paik ’24 |