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  • Lindsey Novak

Three Poems

Inspired By

Inspired by the elven.

Inspired by the cloven-hoofed.

Inspired by horses & hunter green.

Inspired by the micro-plastics in our DNA.

Inspired by, Earth isn’t your mother;

she’s a saga.

Inspired by don’t look at me.

Inspired by but my hands shake.

Inspired by regression.

Inspired by smoking again.

Inspired by throwing rocks at trains.

My father asks me questions

he doesn’t really want to know the answers to.

I am the daughter of No-One,

son of Void.

Always more prophet than profit.

Inspired by all my dominoes fallin’ in a row.

Inspired by, come runnin’ all the way down my driveway;

come runnin’ hands up to my heart.

One for the glow up—

two for the grave.

A man died today,

who, the last time I looked in his eyes,


Dead Names

Dead names,

tenderness of a predator.

Read my tea leaves—

tell me: when will I be brave?

Please help;

please clap.

Please please please

let me get what I want.

A tarantula read my future today,

fuzzy, as he backed away;

he said, flinch

as you do.

Say, here, I have curated these stars for you.

Say, here, I have washed them with my hair.

Say, here, I am numb

from the waist down.

I collect mother figures,

every reflection in the car window a shooting star.

I’m pulling every knife out of my back.

I have been feeling the ground shake.

The past in squares—

embrace it.

Nothing tells me to work harder than

lifting my heart.

I’ve thought I should be more of

the wolf—let me in.

My gender:

a scream in the night.

black hole, black hole,

black hole

Child, did you lose sight of the stars?


I remember when,

as a child,

my mother took me

to a fancy restaurant

in town.

I ate cherry pie

out of a tin can

still silver slivers

found a way into my mouth

& she said,

Be grateful.

& to this day

I am grateful for slivers

I get that take

much more than they give.

They still look alive,

the deer in too-flash,

the way I tell my cat

you’re too close.

I tell him about the gray fur

that preceded his white.

We listen to coyotes

whoop it up,

forever trumpet life of the party—


that someday we will die.

I have only loved in fever dreams,

mix up sweetness with my teeth,


for changing

& then change back.

Werewolves never really do evolve,

do they?

& maybe that is my problem:

half-eaten pills,

half-moons of half try

because I’m too scared to swallow the whole thing,

take the full ride.

Lindsey Novak is a writer who followed the sun west from her native Missouri Ozarks to the dusty Arizona East Valley. She holds an MA in writing from Missouri State University and currently teaches composition at Mesa Community College and online for ASU's Writers' Studio. Her work appears in The Fourth River literary journal and is forthcoming in The Rumpus, Atticus Review, and Angel City Review. Her debut chapbook, Echolalia, is forthcoming from dancing girl press.

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