Spring 2024

gone, here

i tried to write about gone, but
my brain has been cataloging
disappearance non-stop for two years.
as inconsolable as a teething
baby with stomach upset.

i’m sorry. i can’t bear to think about
all that is gone. don’t know how to
stay here when i think about all
that is gone. and i know i am telling
and not showing, but i was at home
in the void for so long and now
i want to be here.

here, the hummingbird feasting
on fuchsia, clicking aggressively at
me when i walk by as they hover
at eye level. would i interact more
if i were territorial? am i
territorial and don’t know it? is that
part of this vague agitation,
a constant current in my body?

here, the blue heron standing on a
pylon. here the crows at crow beach.
here, the osprey at dusk, fish in their talons,
returning to a nearby nest.
here, the gulls and geese floating
near the shore. here, the broken
shells and half-eaten crabs and
barnacles on stones.

in the future there will be more
things that are gone. for now,
i turn away from the void.

sloth | sloth-deranged

Jo Hooste is a queer writer and world-conjurer, who loiters at the intersection of the creative process, mental wellness, and education. They live in the Pacific Northwest, engaging in peer support through nourishing, generative creative writing practices and mutual aid. Jo’s special interests are liminality, ecology, and liberatory love. They were a finalist for the Fourth Genre Steinberg Essay Contest, and their work has appeared in Fourth Genre and Exquisite Corpse. You can find Jo on the web @fortunate_heron

Spring 2024