I put you in this box, like the heart of a bird in my human armpit. Pray every day, face the sun, finger the birch tree I stop at, dogs likely shit on, young people kiss near. Unfamiliar with what you were like at puberty, if you saw the hair come in and kept beat to the steady rhythm, like a chicken’s ascending clucks, or the offbeat clack of clipping nails. So much happens over a toilet. When you fold the paper do you anticipate the wipe or are you able to understand why we’re alive? Daytime is full of hats, receipts, soda pop rivers, miles of gut banging American pesticides. Undo the boat, undo the harbor to the flood. As a kid you used your hands, not knowing they were each a humming thing. Didn’t listen close to your own drum of echoing femur claps. When the night nods with her noodle neck towards your life, don’t turn away. Look her dead in her tulip’d gaze. Say it with me, gratitude gratuity grace. We did not come here to tell lies; we lie down like dogs. Where we rest our chins is our living, where we rest is within the foxtrot. Trust. Once you dance the shock of body chalk away, you can dance to anything.
Ashleigh A. Allen is a poet, writer, researcher, and educator. She is currently a PhD student in Curriculum and Pedagogy at OISE, University of Toronto.
Sarah Gao is currently a second-year MS in Biology student studying the effects of climate change precipitation stress on agricultural soil ecology and nutrient cycling. She has been a digital designer and illustrator for the past 7 years before more recently moving into the sciences.