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Ants bubble up from the rain. Fill

plaster pores I have

yet to duct tape.

Leak into junk drawers, drip out

of soup pots.

We’ve done this before and oh my god

I need them gone. Their determined

streams, flowing

toward kitchen cans. Parades gripping ankles,

scouting a home in my hair.

I cull with chemical trails,

suck them into whirring dust

cloud. Press my thumb

to their fragile bodies, gift

a unique tread of death.

If I’m quick, they collapse

in ease,

the pain of our wanting, gone.

Bury the survivors with their dead

friends, in alley dumpster, shallow

graves of plastic

body bags. Apologies behind

my lips.

I lay awake in bed while phantom

legs search my spine. My neighbor’s porch light crawls

through the blinds, the only way

we communicate.

The house is empty, loneliness

I wished for. Serrated




A half block ahead, adjusting your shabby blazer.

Shoulder length bob bouncing

in metered rhythm as

you find your confidence.

You are soft bodied and soft hearted but your teeth are sharp

for someone new. She’s waiting

at the table for you, by your own design.

A test taught by older brothers,

she stands to ace. A kiss on the cheek,

a notch of security gained.

You have a seventies flair, a nice guy under

cut with traditional values. You’ll tell her to

order anything she likes. The girl across from you is freckled

and liberal arts educated, her name something floral

but unusual.

Chrysanthemum. Hyacinth. Or Calla.

She orders a complicated cocktail just to show you she can

tie a cherry stem with her tongue.

The night goes well because you’re charming, non threatening. Because

you’re the kind of man who looks at a woman and knows

she is someone’s daughter.

You mention the spliffs back at your studio apartment

and she obliges.

This is the stage where things feel exciting. Ironically watching Destiny’s

Child music videos, on your unmade bed,

until you politely ask to kiss her.

You feel lucky

to live in a generation where girls hook-up

with thrift store suited, wispy mustache boys.

Where riding in your jalopy, smoking clove cigarettes,

spells hip instead of scrub.

A time where girls use you

to get over their crypto bro ex and you are happy to assist.

You pretend the night means nothing but we both know

your phone will be filled with poems

about the way Amaryllis bloomed

under your trembling touch. The way you plucked off her lavender top. The ways

you wither once she ghosts you.

And I write my own poem about you, after

you turn left and I kept straight,

onto the grocery store where my partner waits for me

to fall into synchronized domestic step.



Volatile mistresses, hungry for each other’s touch.

Sticky, clinging kisses on a summer day.

Fireplace embrace through Christmas tights, electricity

that nylon can’t tame. Try as I might,

setting spandex curfew, building

silk pillow moats,

they always defy

my rules. Star crossed lovers, clandestine,

clashing their way to scarlet

blisters. In jeans, they recite obsessive odes

through denim, teasing every magnetic word

until the seams burst.



your father’s grave was fresh

on your face. You sat

a chair away, no longer risking

the electric scrape of our knees. My new

cat transmitted my longing

at your feet. Ignoring allergies, you held

her in palms I used

to kiss.

Seven months later, you’re both ghost to me.

Her, euthanized. You, estranged.

I think of you, as boy

in baggy suit, declaring “only the good die

young.” I wish you weren’t right. Buried

bones: my cat

and the missing girls on the news and


your parents. Please don’t make me

keep going. I’ve already sent you

five texts without response. The pulse of my phone, a prayer

for your come back.

If you live

in the same place, our streets touch

and tangle a couple

miles away. But I haven’t gone

looking for you. Instead, I stay

inside most days.

I like the way it feels

to be a statue. Stone and static

and safe. If you change

your mind, you’ll know exactly where to

find me.



You were named after an eccentric writer so you think you’re interesting.

Think you’re so difficult to love, it’s easier not to answer the phone. Your love language is “get the fuck away from me.” My love language is “tell me the 350th thing you like about me and when you noticed it.”

I dated another writer and when I told him his poetry was good he said it better be

since he had a degree. I could have loved him if he wasn’t an asshole.

But you’re not even an asshole. You’re indifferent to it. I don’t know where you are now or who you’re with. So in dreams you’re always aloof and dating some girl skinnier and more pleasant than me. She doesn’t have a temper and she’s not bossy.

I like that in dreams you pretend you’ve always been nice to me, like a friendship can sustain itself on unanswered questions, forgotten texts, deleted communication. I always have to be the one to tell you you’re a screw up, in front of your perfect dream girlfriend,

and I look like the villain.

I tried to play cool for seven years of my 20s and it got me fucked up, taking daily Effexor, and crying while I write notes on my phone naked in a cold bath. God I’m always in the bath writing about you. Growing colder and wrinkled while you’re thriving. You’re probably living somewhere tropical and disconnected while I stay in this city. Hoping to run into you and not that poet ex.

My real boyfriend in the other room ready to love me at any time

while I grieve a ghost.



Forgive the sins of oil barons, war mongers, greedy

thieves. Plaster their faces

on six o'clock news, call them hero. Death

apparently washes blood off your hands. Picks

the bones out of your teeth

and assembles them

into carnage halo.

We love to pretend. To ignore sordid pasts, tout

success and celebrate celebrity.

Is the militarist government shithead really a murderer if

the corpses were from families struggling

to eat? Was the tech mogul’s false testimony truly a lie

if the stocks rose in deceived ecstasy?

In life you may be a villain, in expiration

your statue is guaranteed. A gift from tax reserve,

glutton gloating grin, immortalized

in marble. Commemorated

patriotism. in the shadow of a flag,

towering above a town

where the lead water

poisons the free.


Hadley Dion (she/her) is a writer, audio editor, and filmmaker from Los Angeles. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in Scapegoat Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, FreezeRay Poetry, Nixes Mate Review, Olney Magazine, and more. She spends her extra time volunteering at her local cat rescue and crafting punch needle rugs.

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