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Breath & Shadow

Fall 2021 - Vol. 18, Issue 4

"After Watching the Skeleton Twins Together"

written by

Zach Semel

Mother, please

let me explain:

it’s like eating frozen meals

zapped so hot that you could

lick the salt off the steam.

Pristine chicken nuggets

with a frosty sheen—

so quick, and all so much

simpler than defrosting

this week’s meat, a pan

on medium-high, seasoning

and oil, slicing off the fat

with squared knuckles to guard

and hands that don’t shake.

It’s like bathing

in liquor ‘til

you’re numb

to your own secrets.

Or sitting until

your body swells.

Surely, you can understand me

when I tell you how much easier it is,

when awful thoughts run through the

plains of my mind, to picture

a scythe gliding drunkenly

across the grass of my throat.

To make these choices,

then to imagine

undoing them

all at once.

Zach is an M.F.A. candidate in Creative Writing at Northern Arizona University. He is an avid Celtics fan, a wannabe psychoanalyst, and a lover of all things garlicky. Some of his previous poems and essays have appeared in or are forthcoming in DIAGRAM, CutBank, The Nervous Breakdown, Wordgathering, Breath & Shadow, and other places.

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