Untitled Fear of Intimacy: Celibacy by Ashley Taylor

Three days after swearing off sex, I message an old tinder date. We talk 
about coming home to ourselves, recovery, and tarot. She asks me, 
in what ways do you want to be more grounded?  And I want to tell her 
about Yayoi Kusama’s Narcissus Garden, how fifteen hundred steel spheres 
lay on the ground, and reflect via convex—how the viewer experiences a multitude 
of warped reflections within reflections, copies of copies—And I want to tell her 
it’s not just about the warped image anymore—It’s what else the curve scoops up 
from around you, how it translates and abstracts the environment too. And I want to tell her all 
the stories that I’ve told myself, that I’m not sure how to find my way out of the garden. 

And she sends me flowers through the phone. 
A handful of musky daffodils in full bloom—
roots exposed and dirtying up the receiver, 
bits of earth crumble into my palm.


Ashley Taylor [she/her] is a non-binary poet and MFA candidate at Spalding University’s School of Professional and Creative Writing. She curates, promotes, and designs inclusive programming of creative writing and performing arts workshops. She earned an MA in English from the University of Louisville, where she served as graduate editor of Miracle Monocle, writing instructor of college composition and intro to creative writing, and facilitator of UofL’s LGBTQ Creative Writing Group. She is the founder of the Louisville reading series River City Revue, the author of The Metamorphosis of Narcissus (Damaged Goods Press, 2019), and a teacher at the Jewish Community Center in Louisville KY. 

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.