Fall 2021


by Kaylen Rose

I could have been a mother cow, creating
milk for another body, but she was only here
for a few weeks and then gone. I didn’t meet her.

How do you lose, how do you mourn a child
you never asked for? I developed two layers
of sickness. A flame sat me down off my feet.

My teacher’s teacher told him that sometimes
serial killers are reborn into miscarriage,
so they can burn all that karma at once.

I thought: You monster.

I thought: I can be that vessel.

It was new. An outrage made right.

I became someone large.
I carried weight in the space around me.
It hung like a bell announcing her rebirth.

I wrote in the AIr

Dear God:

You are a place in my mind
where I can long specifically.

Please, come over to my house.
I can offer you hash browns,
I can offer you houseplants,
I can offer you hot tea.

I want to be gentle
like a doe lapping
dew drops at dawn.

I want to be gentle
like a dragonfly flitting her wings
over the backyard pond.

I want to be gentle
like my old friend’s rabbit
who loved to sleep on people’s feet
under the kitchen table.

If I sit still, will you descend over me
                    like a cloud touching ground?

If I stay still, can I be a cave for you
                    with a wide-open mouth?


walking through the dark house
a thought creeps in: a vine of sadness
climbs my leg into the upper right
ventricle of my heart, a cramp
in my latissimus dorsi, a flutter
beneath my sternum

the vine travels with me, sometimes
blooming a crimson flower, sometimes
throwing knots into net, sometimes
sprouting a leaf of longing
so sharp I want to hide
in a sunlit crowd of strangers,

but now is never the time for hiding

no, I must let the vine crawl up
and around, steadying where
loose ligaments languish

let the soft dark of dusk settle
over skin and scars that hold

sprout leaves that profuse
the sharp beauty of tension
pulling a bow weighing smooth
over the cello’s nervy strings

I must move through the world

the canopy’s compounding cadence
of voices growing still

my body the heart of a jungle

an unabashed wonder
of encastled green

Kaylen Rose is a writer and artist in Lexington, Kentucky. She loves poems, paintings, bodies, stories, and jokes. Kaylen’s work has appeared in Gnashing Teeth and Meatyard [Untitled]: literary explorations of works by Ralph Eugene Meatyard. Kaylen holds an MA in Engaged Humanities from the Pacifica Graduate Institute and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Kentucky. Connect with her on her website: kaylenrose.com.

Fall 2021