Raena Shirali: say i am a series of creeks

say i am a series of creeks

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& i am warm, warm, giving, giving, always feeding
into someone else. every boy i’ve loved was a body

better than me at the ebb; they made me runnel,
dirty trickle. no wonder i am desperate

to erode. on monday i dip into the hollow cave
of a stranger, shallow pools in the dark

& his overzealous tongue lapping
like rock-shore waves. how long will it take

to quit you again? you ocean, you swallowing, you
take me in your vast blue mouth & spit me out

as salt, & i will not complain. twilight refracts
in my lungs, little molecules of you pitch & linger

in my widening rill. once, i learned all rivers
hold parts of each other: smoothed pebble, fish scale,

the extra tooth behind your top row—oyster-jagged
when i run myself over it. let this mean

what we carry we do not easily leave. let me be
mulled-green at your shoreward

bend. let some measure of you settle
with me on the grit-fallen bank.


FICTION: Lisa Beebe, Karl Harshbarger, Lauren Johnson, J. Robert Lennon

NONFICTION: Matthew Gavin Frank, Deborah Thompson

POETRY: Melissa Barrett, Thea Brown, Lauren Camp, Sampurna Chattarji, MRB Chelko, Patrick Culliton, John Gallaher, Ricky Garni, Meghan Lee, Kristen Orser, slp, Meghan Privitello, Megan Pugh, Amelia Salisbury, Matt Shears, Raena Shirali, Dolsy Smith, Avni Vyas, Elizabeth Whittlesey, Nicholas Wong

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