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Robin Gow

running w/o scissors

i’m asking myself  “how am i going to cut

the cord?” there’s no point in velocity

if you aren’t going to grip onto

something sharp. i used to put fireworks 

in my mouth & let my lover light them.

the forest was full of frog skeletons.

we ate poison berries. swallowed 

clouds like pastry. there is always 

the thing around your ankle. a string

or a strand of yarn. my mother used to

knit me pairs of eyes i could use

if i wanted to see a softer universe.

i have plushie dreams & plushie sadness.

the scissors are imperative though.

you should always have an escape ready.

danger is measured in backyards 

& electric wires & random phone numbers

calling to ask if you have time to be 

a ferry tonight. i carry bodies to & from

my mouth. we arrive in a parking lot

& i root in my glove box. nothing sharp.

how do you look a man in the eyes 

& say, “will you please wait

for me to be armed?” he doesn’t wait.

he snips a strand of your hair 

& keeps it for himself. the trail 

is overgrown with wild berries & 

thorny bushes. there has got to be

a pair somewhere. inside, i run

with my bare hands. the day shaves me

down to the bone. the man says,

“it’s just us.” i think of the fireworks

& my lover & i can’t remember

whose idea it was. mine or his. 

i do not kiss him. my mouth is

the scissors i don’t have. outside

squirrels cut holes in the coming night.

my escape is not so seamless.

Robin Gow is a witch and poet from rural Pennsylvania. It is the author of several poetry collections, including Our Lady of Perpetual Degeneracy and Lanternfly August (forthcoming 2023), as well as YA and Middle-Grade novels.

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