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“What is the heart’s shape?” one girl asks.
They have only known love
at its most Janus-faced, joy and pain,
and know nothing of the in-between.

Their mopey lyrics and sighing doodles
make the heart seem flat, cut out of
paper. So I take them to the prosectorium
and dare them. “See a real heart.”

They are shy, wise as brides
in veils of eyelet lace. What they know
peeks through. In the cadaver, they see finally
that the heart is not a delicate thing,

a foldable, burnable thing
but strong. A muscle. A fist of blood.
A spelunker’s cave where the
Minotaur roams.

Then a curtain is drawn
on the corpse’s face, a shiny, waxy thing.
Behind the eyes, the brain,
two lobes of it, looking lumpen in its labyrinth.

“Where is the seat of the soul?” I ask them.
Around the table, they look up, my girls,
faces corona-bright.
The answers are somewhere borne up

on the palanquin of their girlhood. In the arms
of lovers, over the corpse of tamed bulls,
or even alone, perhaps they will think on
the heart’s irregular shape, the brain’s symmetry—

and know the true form of things.



Genevieve DeGuzman was born in the Philippines, raised in Southern California, and graduated from Columbia University. Her fiction and poetry appear or are forthcoming in Indigo Lit, LONTAR, Liminality, Rising Phoenix Review, and AJ (now Tablet), among others. She is a winner of the Oregon Poetry Association New Poets Contest and has been awarded a residency at Can Serrat. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon. Learn more at: about.me/genevievedeguzman
Current Issue
26 Sep 2022

Would a Teixcalaanli aristocrat look up at the sky, think of Lsel Station, and wonder—with Auden—"what doubtful act allows/ Our freedom in this English house/ our picnics in the sun"?
I propose that The Expanse and its ilk present us with a similar sentiment, in reverse—a warning that for all the promise of futurism and technological advancement, plenty of new, and perhaps much worse futures are right before us. In the course of outrunning la vieux monde, we may find that we are awaited not simply by new worlds to win, but also many more which may yet be lost.
where oil slurped up out of the dirt, they drink the coffee
Science fiction is a genre that continues to struggle with its own colonialist history, of which many of its portrayals of extractivism are a part. Science fiction is also a genre that has a history of being socially progressive and conscious – these are both truths.
Bring my stones, my bones, back to me
If we are to accept that the extractive unconscious is latent, is everywhere, part of everything, but unseen and unspoken, and killing us in our waking lives, then science fiction constitutes its dreams.
they are quoting Darwish at the picket & i am finally breathing again
Waste is profoundly shaping and changing our society and our way of living. Our daily mundane world always treats waste as a hidden structure, together with its whole ecosystem, and places it beyond our sight, to maintain the glories of contemporary life. But unfortunately, some are advantaged by this, while others suffer.
Like this woman, I am carrying the world on my back.
So we’re talking about a violence that supplants the histories of people and things, scrubbing them clean so that they can fuel the oppressive and unequal status quo it sustains.
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