OXIDANT | ENGINE : Issue 8

Laura Passin

Interstate

 

We stitch the continent out of road signs:

BOSTON    ALBANY    SALEM

 

new New England in the mouths of wanderers,

pointing west and naming it east.

 

More strangers now than when we first met,

he looks at me and sees something weak

 

in himself, something given up on.

The white cat and the black cat drugged

in the backseat. The brown cat caged

and yowling, underdosed, unfed.

 

MEDICAL LAKE          ANACONDA

We speak only in jokes so old

 

all they say is “I remember you, younger.”

My face a patchwork reflection

 

of signs saying             REST

saying                           STOP

 

We keep going.

 

Five Years of Elegies

and still no God.

 

Tear this tongue out

and stitch it to someone else.

 

How to do things

with words: don’t.

 

They make nothing happen

and then they keep making nothing.

 

The more dead people I know,

the happier I am when I’m sick.

 

How unlucky it is to be a body,

what genius they had,

 

to escape pain!

I applaud them, those ghosts

 

who look back at our poems

and, counting their blessings,

 

turn swiftly away.

Laura Passin is a writer, scholar, and feminist at large. She earned her PhD in English Literature at Northwestern and her MFA in  Creative Writing at the University of Oregon. Her writing has appeared in a wide range of publications, including Prairie Schooner, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, The Toast, Rolling Stone,  Electric Literature, and Best New Poets, and her chapbook All Sex and No Story was selected by Tiana Clark as the winner of the 2018 Girls Like Us chapbook contest (Rabbit Catastrophe Press). Laura lives in Denver with too many pets.