The seize and sense, neither fact nor feeling. Sensation, sensation. Can we mark this day
an other and move on. Can we pretend there is something there when there is not. Would
I have been able to make you happy? I am walking by myself in the rain. Once a
rosemary, once a treason. How to honor in a gag and repeat, how to pull hair all the way
back until a puff of smoke, a puff of cotton releases from the lungs, from the ears and
eyes. Here, pick what you will, let the rest fester until next harvest. If you pull hard
enough, an organ or two will come out, tendons and veins, here is an exoskeleton, frame
it for your living room. You say, I am not this or that, I am just _____. And so here is
how you roll, here is you rolling. You can deal with it now or you can deal with it with
someone else. I choose never. How’s that for a deal.


The skin is so thin. It’s as if the translucence sits in a lump in front of you, grinning. Watch
the cells. Mirror. How we change the way we feel every single day, hour, second, what
have you. There takes some confidence to proclaim you’re the best at something before
you have even done it. I should know. Today is the day after Independence Day
and I am uninterested in apathy. Thanks, ___! [redacted] [redacted] If today is the first
day of the rest of my life, there is a possibility I don’t want to see what’s next. What if the
rest of my life looks like today. What moral high ground. We both live in the city that I
love, miles apart, your garden, your grill. Look in the mirror and see my gold teeth. Same
permanence, different objects.


Katie Jean Shinkle is the author of The Arson People and Our Prayers After the Fire. Other work can be found in or is forthcoming from Washington Square, The Feminist Wire, Ninth Letter, and The Collagist, among others. She serves as co-fiction editor of DIAGRAM and creative nonfiction editor of Banango Street.