Bitter Pastoral by Gabrielle Grace Hogan

next thought—isolation is a beautiful syringe. 
next thought—when i went to Chicago that summer i took the train. 

Illinois is a whole lot of nothing. 
neutered landscapes in a lilting breeze. grain silos round as asses. 

Midwestern topographies are bargain-bin paintings 
everyone wants hung in their bathroom, which is to say 

something, probably. maybe i like to be alone. 
that summer i plateau on the Amtrak. 

land pixelates through a train window. state lines heave 
like cowboys in heat. distant gobs of creamy 

same-expressioned houses, pseudo-suburbia pockets off I-55, 
call out in ribboning banners: if you lived here 

you’d be home by now! so true, houses. 
it really is as simple as that.

Gabrielle Grace Hogan is a poet from St. Louis, Missouri, currently living in Austin, Texas while she pursues her MFA from the University of Texas as part of the New Writers Project. Her work has been published by or is forthcoming from the Academy of American Poets, Sonora ReviewDIAGRAMFoglifterNashville Review, & others. She is a co-editor of You Flower / You Feast, an anthology of poetry & prose inspired by the music of Harry Styles, and works as the Poetry Editor for Bat City Review. Her debut chapbook, Soft Obliteration, is available now from Ghost City Press.. You can find her social media as well as poems on her website,

Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, prose, reviews, and interviews from marginalized creators.