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Maintain a sound aesthetic, our motto. We remember
our fur waving, as we set down into this new atmosphere,
as we chewed through each new dream
and made sure to sing the facts back in key.
Drawn there by our search of the maternal, our instinct ticked
all the boxes. What emotional plunder.

On this earth there were once saloons so riotous
the dust motes grew gunmetal, miserly.
Blank looking people under an unnoticed moon
stared blinking into their palms. Animals shit where they pleased.
The early sun. The horizon a seam our ship slipped into.
What various sentiments, we noted, our tentacles soft
against the floor of the ship. On this earth
there was always greasy rain falling;
a world filled with men who slid lottery tickets
through little slots in plexiglass doors,
in every neighborhood boxes of holiday decor
soggy in the yard, and we saw how the dwellings sagged,
how they listed, sad in the milky mist.

And the mothers. The mothers were frothy,
were mad, so tender and desperate.

We sensed clearly the notes of chaos,
decided then to bring the young ones out.

Descended to wait, watch, take notes.

They were sensational, had such range.
So we stuck ourselves tightly to the walls,

noticed one particularly bright She.

Others came later, came too. Because we wanted
them for our own, to study them:

their colors, the way their little fingers curled. How often
the mothers truncated their play. And that toxic, warming world.

We whispered among ourselves, set a plan in motion
for a slick enclosure: nest, light, hill, stars.

Translate this, we said.

We have to admit we slipped in it a little.

But they had already lost many miles of beach.
They had already begun covering all the sofas with sheets.

Kristina Erny is a third-culture poet who grew up in South Korea. She holds an MFA from the University of Arizona, and currently lives and works in Shanghai, China, where she teaches at an international school with her partner and their three children. Her first book of poetry, Elijah Fed by Ravens, is forthcoming in 2024 from Solum Literary Press. Find more of her work at, and on Instagram: @kristina.erny.
Current Issue
26 Feb 2024

I can’t say any of this to the man next to me because he is wearing a tie
Language blasts through the malicious intentions and blows them to ash. Language rises triumphant over fangs and claws. Language, in other words, is presented as something more than a medium for communication. Language, regardless of how it is purposed, must be recognized as a weapon.
verb 4 [C] to constantly be at war, spill your blood and drink. to faint and revive yourself. to brag of your scars.
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