Habitual | Claire Denson

when the world said sink I sank
I am in this way ordinary
I put pasta in the water watch it bloat
every time I think I’m new the old 
comes back like a stray I once fed
imagine a well-read strange man 
I never get tired of my same story
I’ve tidied up my room
and left my inbox open
in case he wants to slip through the screen
I hate the growing scatter across my desk
brush, book, scissor, sock
scrub my face clean at the sink
but my skin remains
should I put my fist 
in the boiling water
for something new today


Claire Denson reads for The Adroit Journal and her work appears in Salt Hill, The Minnesota Review, Massachusetts Review, Booth, and Hobart, among others. She holds a BA from the University of Michigan and an MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she served on the editorial staff for The Greensboro Review. You can find her at clairedenson.com and on Twitter at @shmaireshmen.

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.