pull your body out of the mud and dress it in your grandmother’s fleece sweater find the person you still think about on a sunday morning when your lonely bones have faded pink and pull open their curtains, tell them it’s the last warm day of the season even if it’s not and slice an apple so thin you can see the whole san francisco skyline through it and let the slices melt on your tongue because nothing matters in a way that means everything matters because you are calculating how fast you can get to the coral reefs and not thinking of the washing machine which has flooded twice this month or the way your father’s breath caught against his teeth when you were twelve and he was volcanic, don’t you see, your chest is blooming and we should push the living room furniture against the walls so there is more room for swimming and touch the temple of your mother’s graying hair because now we can see the boulder tumbling toward us, but it’s always been there, hasn’t it, haven’t your ears always been waiting for the sound of a car rolling off the cliff and you said you would learn to cook if you had more time and speaking of time, there is none, you are already an exposed nerve being plucked away.
-- Sydney Vogl currently teaches, writes and lives in San Francisco. Their chapbook, CRYBABY!, was chosen by Chen Chen as the winner of the 2022 Cow Creek Chapbook Prize and is forthcoming in 2023. They are also the author of the chapbook CALIFORNIA IS GOING TO HELL (Nov 2021, perhappened press) and the winner of the 2021 Jane Underwood Poetry Prize and the 2020 AWP Intro Journals Project. Their work can be found in Iron Horse Literary Review, Hobart, Honey Literary, Booth and more.