September Becomes Another Continent

How strange it is to live

in a place without coyotes

to snatch terriers from their gardens,

no burgundy angst calling

like a lover from the stringy woods

behind every teenage home. Instead:


one endless, golden morning

smeared across your vision like a paint stroke.


Like feeling for a hand in the dark and realizing it’s not

dark here, was never.

I am trying very hard to fill my body

with a home I haven’t arrived at.

Exhale of a song on my neck

like an infant hot and dense in the hands,

like touching trees older than us

and wishing to see them sprout, take

root, entangle.

There is something to the falling.

To being brave enough to fall asleep

in the passenger’s seat, whispering

thank you with all your being

to no one in particular. Elsewhere,


blue light flickers through an attic window

and I am suddenly unafraid to die.

The orange glow of your childhood kitchen

is something you carry inside you now,

the ghost of an ember.

You don’t have to feel guilty anymore.

ERIN SLAUGHTER is currently pursuing an MFA at Western Kentucky University, where she teaches undergraduate writing classes. She has been a Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominee, and her work can be found in River Teeth, Juked, Gravel, and the Bellingham Review, among others. She is the author of a poetry chapbook, Elegy for the Body (Slash Pine Press, 2017).