Vassar Student Review

Vassar Student Review

Featured Author

names (definitions)

to answer your question,
I do still want to be a mother.

mother—still sister to sister and brother.

I know what I want
to say about this year.

be a fixture in questioning how we lie to others.

I will tell them that before
I knew anything, I wrote

and wrote and wrote and wrote

myself an alphabet
to toggle the brightness. they will know

or ask, learn, and then know

it is my scripture—history only in part
that determines everything we say, or

most of what we say, or 

legacy preserved by the touch of greedy kings.
they might hold it above their heads to block

new legislation or

the rain above them. I hope their belief in me 
comes with terms and conditions. by then they may know

I want them to be good, not great, or that

there is nothing more important
than breaking us into pieces, nothing more important

(than whatever I cannot yet think to wish)

than the clothing
that turned red; some are still dripping.

A) Allison, there is no crown / no royalty / in or out of this novelty

B) the links that spread the bug / cannot be squashed or exterminated

C) I wish I could know your name / know their names and / I will never know theirs / how I have known what I own

D) I could have died / one my grandfather drove us to dinner just before his face half-sagged / two food poisoning twice / three every time I am in the ocean I think this might be my last itemized list

E) when / more than I have almost been / a large part of everyone has almost lived

F) I understand names / definitions and their failures

G) they are the documentation / of the leading up / of the lost connections on reality shows / where celebrities go to find out they aren’t white

H) or just how much they are and I have always been / white and behind me the genocide / that left 23&me defining me ninety nine %

I) Ashkenazi Jew and behind me the genocide that / makes ancestry.com more difficult

J) than jungle gyms and behind me the histories of others / I never knew how to learn

K) I will never know you but I want to know how you text “okay” / how or if you play in snow / if our paths have

L) starred the same bad actors / not apples / lemons that are not a given 

M) my wish / which my mother says never to do because it removes agency / is impossible

N) while the arctic is burning / I don’t believe in nations / I grieve / too many names and losses to group or receive

O) but the minute I listen / oh / I hear nothing / and get to work

P) I know how to use the pulse oximeter now / that is something

Q) qwerty keyboard I loved you / for hunting and gathering / but where are we now

R) my eyes shut and rest is nowhere / I crave somewhere to lay my head / reality how it never was

S) wear your mask / sweet but sickly / do I really have to specify which

T) how can children learn to read / the as T H and E / in our broken city now

U) apprehend / punitive / both words with two separate meanings Google should not have to pair / to define each one / do you / are you

V) verifying my account / when you ask me for an answer to IsraelPalestine / no I don’t have

W) W W dot / the words to mend / the search history of so many hearts / where do

X) you keep yours / is it like treasure

Y) you

Z) should know it’s all zeroes and ones / colonial finders with split faces / on our docks / the droning of the laptop fan / over muted mics on Zoom

washing up on 8/12/2017

old things
weigh more
until they
weigh less

do you
remember
your first
load

decoding
spin cycle
color piles
closing doors

firsts
weigh less
and spin less
and less

i think
there is
a weight
to trust

to listening
to you
listening
for weight

sounds
too
fall
and rise

not rhythm
exactly
or breathing
but

i
enjoy
brushing
with trust

teeth
hair
fossils
fingers

i
want

or breathe
but

new things

are easy
to hold
and love

maybe that’s
why they
think they
can

hate

is
too light
too long
to listen

always old
always there
i feel
searing pain

what can we
i do
i fold
my laundry

and anger
into piles
into drawers
and wear

the shirt
the
bad luck
one

the one
without holes
but hated
uncomfortable

the one
that hid
at the
bottom

the one
i knew
i should
have washed

and i 
feel sorry
for those
too weak

to feel
the weight
of distant
sound

now his
horse wears
weighted
brushing boots

invisible
against
oxidized
coronets
hope pulls
at him
he tears
the air

emancipation park
formerly
his own did you know
his own soap

they made
their own
soap for
their wash

but that
was old
and this
is new-seeming

for some

hate
is like
using
soap

instead
of
turning
green

i watched
the speeches
her parents
gave

her father
said
a rainbow
as

i watched
the cycle
turn
and turn

he cried
and said
no father
should ever

i like
to brush
my pain
in trust

trust
that the world
will spin
keep spinning

trust
that i
will clean
delicates

by hand

my anger
holds
my heavy
chin

turns me
to
the president’s
comments

hearing
us
hearing
him

this is
the first time
he says
us

when he says
alt-right
he means
us

our initials
in
wet
tar

but i think
we will learn
and remember
with trust

use
similar tides
and move
him from

the public
to
where paintings
go

and do
the washing
all
the same

and perhaps
knowing
will weigh less
dry

but more
in hearts
and more
on scales

until
our world
is nice
to wear

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