if not a door, i’ll be a window

think flat line that

sunlight punched through,

ragged pulsing star,

quiescent glowstick 

cracking the room.


picture the space between

two fingers,

light setting fire to vein

until leaf hums 

a quiet fuse. 


words take on their lot 

and i choke on walls 

and all their fume. i think seal

and ceiling and lip with no hinge,

arm with no elbow.


a room with no square of light is

trying to know your own mouth

with no tongue. any wet spot

in dark room  

may as well be blood.


i hemorrhage 

drool, sweat, the stuff of my womb,

swell with fever and shiver a dream

of talons. 

i claw a hole in the wall and 

wake up to the sun,


stick my tongue out at the dark

as it dries out like a scab,

curls and unfurls and falls,

leaving behind a pale shadow

that has almost ears, almost stray hairs,

almost fingers, reaching for sun.

ALISON LANDES is a women’s health nurse and sometimes neglectful cat mom living in San Francisco. She writes on the themes of trauma and womanhood, often on the nearest paper towel, often between snuggles with other people’s babies