there is no way to get you, not really.

there is only marble column in rippling bloodstain —

                    the leaves are clattering, you clutch your breath and your coffee

                                                                                as if they were your last rations of heat

          before winter. the hair you’ve tried and failed to volumize lays strange against your ears.

                              you say something that stinks of oxygen, something like i can’t stop

                    wasting my life and i’m scuffing the ground at my chucks,

          wondering when you’ll start moving,

                                        rasping those soles, the way they’re supposed to grit.


                    if you’re a column you’re a corpsed one.

you have hands where there shouldn’t be hands,

          put on backward, fingerless, fused to your neck to keep your head straight,

                    and yet when we slump into autumn on a park bench

                                        you turn when the man in your earbuds whispers look at me.

                    i am not close enough to wishbone your ribs.

                                                  you will not hear me singing anything. i do worry about you.

                                        you live forever in gasoline. you should try getting drunk.

                    i’ll fill a watering can with softness and slam it into your shins,

                                                  maybe then you’ll recognize togetherness as not a doorhandle

                                        but a pit.


                    but there’s a tree metaphor. somewhere.

somewhere in your fingers when they fling out toward sense,

          somewhere in that misinterpretation between your shucked-off palms

                              and the corn of your teeth. somewhere you survive where everyone else lives.

                    right, the music. clean your mouth, get dressed, go fuck yourself.

i am going to dance. i am going to make the moon my hips,

                                                  make the night bloat until it butters my guts, make me wax.

                              but you are still rooted in space. eyes like bedsheet stains or knots.

          you’d rather eat the bodies than caress their mutations, despite

                                        all your efforts you cannot grind yourself. in the gunk of rotted leaves

                    (that are not your own) forget your needles, 

                                                            please just forget your blood.

but no. i walk you home early with our hands in our sleeves. you think under no circumstances

                                                  are you allowed to tremble but you are a tremor who forgot only

                    to fade.


                              i am giving you permission to end.

i would keep calling you a column, but that would imply you bracing something,

                                                            and your hands are occupied cupping your face together.

                    how we rolled up the carpet so you could vomit

                                                                                       and not feel guilty about falling apart.

          i wake up and it juices my heart, raisins it,

                                                  convinces me to pump it full of tears. when the water remembers

that we have one body, will you sing to me? someday, when the world is a blue balloon

                          that we live inside, will you treat me to dinner, share a steak with me 

                                                                                                                      that is not my thigh?

                                        and then, then i’d like to meet you, say i’ve heard so much about you,

          and i’d look in the bathroom mirror and trace what is left near my eyes,

                    and, yes, and then i would step into the street as if dropping an orange into a bowl,

                               rolling in laughter, in an emptiness that doesn’t feel empty,

                                                          in gravity made gentle, and i would place myself outside

                                   of the bruise, and i would peel myself and know 

                                                                                                         if you’re still here.


                    it is touching, not feeling. that would be another thing entirely.

your head, my shoulder. boulder and slingshot. every time you moan i’m sorry

                                    another word becomes unusable. we’re outside of an aquarium,

              witnessing nothing but the soft fish of our lungs.

                     can i tell you something? you crumble for lack of crumbling.

                                                            imagine my mind. imagine washing tanks all your life,

                                    and loving sharks. tell me what it means to crawl inside the mouth of a thing

              that can smell your insides. how i take off my clothes like i’m speaking,

                     how a shark could swallow my clothes and assume that wet fruit of cloth 

                                                            is my abdomen. when does skin turn into bone?

if only we wrapped our gums around each other, maybe then 

                                                                       you could answer me, and i could convince you

                                                            you’re not invincible. but there is no way to get you,

              not really. the line for the aquarium is already overflowing, the twist

                                                            toward us. the trees jutting like monuments to the stuff

                        we will never be able 

                                                                      to hold.

Writer | Aidan Cooper ’26 |
Editor | Kei Lim ’25 |
Artist | Isabella Fuster-Crichfield ’26 |