a leaf caught

between two fingers

snatch back the words, unchosen,

opting instead for some that won’t place

my heart between your palms.

I dandelion-wish the next phrase can transplant the muscle

from where it’s lived so long on my bloodied sleeve,

press it back into my chest where it belongs

even though I know by the time it arrives it will no longer be heart,

can no longer slip into its cavity like a socked

foot into old running shoes: a little wriggle,

settle, and we’re home, no,

no, it’s muscle morphed into a pine cone,

something you know with your head is natural,

something you understand was well thought-out,

yet still it looks and feels weird enough you wonder

how it grew to be so jagged,

still wonder how its scales

can harbor seeds


Darwin Pappas-Fernandes currently works in the Publishing industry in New York City. She graduated from Smith College in 2017, having majored in English and American Studies, with a Concentration in Poetry. Her work has been featured in Gyroscope Review and Zingara Poetry Review’s “Poetry Picks.”