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Breath & Shadow

Spring 2017 - Vol. 14, Issue 4

"Being or Living With"

written by

Julianna Siemssen

You say

my head weighs a whole ten pounds.

My shoulders must be tired from such a burden,

but you are going to free me

because you know

that if you angle the knife just right

when you slice it off

a balloon will blossom from my neck

and inflate

with harsh fluorescent lights for eyes

and a sharpie grin

and for hair, a single rope you can pull

when you play tug-of-war.


Lasers? Chainsaws? Prayers?

Probiotic defluorinated milk infused with electromagnetic oils?

You keep on trying

in your contaminated labs

and our hands grow calloused scrubbing up the blood.

Julianna Siemssen is an undergraduate at the University of Washington. This is her first published poem.

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