by Kayla Aldrich
©2020  Victoria McNeill                                                                                                               "Sea Ghosts" 
Kayla Aldrich is a staff reader at Feels Blind Literary and works at Read to Them, a non-profit dedicated to family literacy. Her work can be found in Variant LiteraturePwatem Literature & Art Journal, and Richmond Story House, and she is currently editing her first novel. 
The New Thursday

The thing about adjustment periods
is if the day is a snake eating its own tail, 
there’s no haven to run for. 
We fight for space on the head of a pin, 
gathering around the desktop screen
hoping the right combination of words
will yield unblemished fruit. 
In our mouths, 
we know nothing but worms. 

Cut a piece out of the afternoon 
and stick it under our tongues,
grimace against the kick
like it might’ve been kinder a second time.
Cut a piece of yourself and take it out back
like the dog we lost in a summer storm
and buried under a sheet of wild moss.
It’s the most basic rule of survival— 
seek shelter from the flood,
keep swimming with the stones in our pockets. 

Submit there, how many did you apply for?  
Call into the static void— 
are there any new replies? 
The second rule to living is
to never expect the void to call back. 
Our muscles are on the cusp of atrophy
when no one’s fired the starting gun;
we loiter like half-gargoyles,
just a little human,
doomed to grow still and stony
as the days bleed into themselves
with no signs of lifeboats in the dark. 

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