the first poem without road sign poles, empty
of direction. the first poem without missing teeth

i know all about borrowed bodies.

i was born landlocked, with a cup
inside my chest, oceans deep. in california,
the highway between my house and downtown traces
the outlines of the pacific, both nervous
bodies reaching, spooning, matching curve
for curve, don’t think i don’t know what distance
feels like that close, i know all about borrowed bodies, but here

cars stitch their wheels through pavement
like ocean stitches waves along shorelines, constant,
permanent, miles of scarves, miles of warm necks, this poem

is not about winter. this is the sea
a different color every day, how many words
can i slip my hands through? this is learning to read
waves, this is all i have time to say, this is how i spell
breathe, how i spell open, how i spell fill,
full, overflowing.

Emily Alexander is a 21-year-old student, aspiring writer, mediocre (yet enthusiastic) chef, and nervous driver. She is slowly working her way through an English degree at the University of Idaho, while learning to be a functional human being. More of her work can be found in Harpoon Review, A Literation, and Blue Monday Review.

Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, poetry, and creative nonfiction from marginalized creators.

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