Many of the Times by Benin Gardner

And some of the other times and the volleyball girls in milkglass socks beating reddened hands on rival eyes, well the orange tree is right there and if ur so hungry lie beneath it with ur mouth open catch some flies swat summer in the face and the sunset will go blushred fences in between us and us is me and u and me and u is not yet but somewhere in the apple seeds i was told there’s cyanide. And this one time i was sure it was the end when I was sure it was because the eraser made a hole in the lined paper every time i tried to make the words unwound I found your forearm beside me, how it lived alone and along the laminated lab directions how it resisted the slickness turning a cold thing warm. Stress sweat and the chemical that makes it doing doo-wops with the bromide i’m not from a paper towel house and so you can imagine it almost was the end when it burnt the hole into my sweater biting hotly how the wound kisses the lime running rubber of a teachers feet I remember this in stereo a ring of smoke that slowed the time but running water tells my arm the story of it’s life from the river to the cloud to the tower to my pain when i came asking for an ibuprofen it was no different than when he put the egg in the vinegar and said “soon it will be all over you” soon it will be all over leaving all the orange rinds all up upon the mole hill that the mountains come alive beneath I tried to stay inside but rain only comes in february. and the mud makes a nice pair of socks. and beetles in their blue coats and I cut myself three times that day. how they punish me relentlessly just for seeing forever in a bunsen burner. How many times? I cut myself three times that day and just could not apologize.


Benin Gardner is a queer, Black/Chinese author from Los Angeles finishing their final year of university in Amherst, Massachusetts. She is obsessed with the quantum physics of blackness, messianic time, and how those things jive with the policing of colored travel to the American West. They’re currently working on a hybrid dance-memoir-film that explores these themes. 

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.