Size / / /

Content warning:

i also want to challenge police forces
to keep me contained: jails handcuffs
chains ropes straitjackets. magicians knew
spectacle was struggle reframed: the chance
of a man drowned in a milk can, like a kitten,
spilled past the footlights. the papers called him
self-assured, imperious: short sharp bowlegged man,
Rabbi’s son, thrice renamed, a boy trapeze flyer,
cross-country runner, with lockpicks hid in his hand.

Harry says: when faced with straitjackets,
get bigger. expand to the size of the gap
between mamaloshen and Wisconsin; use
your struggle as disguise. remember: i am
stronger than madness. (create the slack.)
i am stronger than death, buried alive.
named and renamed i am stronger than lies.
never let them know your true size.
i am stronger. they never took Ehrich alive.

[Editor’s Note: Publication of this poem was made possible by a gift from Maya Chhabra during our annual Kickstarter.]

Leah Bobet’s latest novel, An Inheritance of Ashes, won the Sunburst, Copper Cylinder, and Prix Aurora Awards and was an OLA Best Bets book; her short fiction is anthologized worldwide. She lives in Toronto, where she builds civic engagement spaces and makes quantities of jam. Visit her at
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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