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by Katherine Gaffney

There’ s no go-to guide like there is for a failed
garden or to lift white water stains from wood.
There’s no intuition for this as there is when
turning leftovers into new. It’s an autopsy,
working to find out what went wrong, bad:
the blood, the brain, the heart? For a while,
our blood went cold so we held each other
in bed to warm what was left of us, together.
We tried the guide to a failed garden, churned
our soil, sprinkled pellets of fertilizer as trinkets
left with notes for the other to wake up to: A Star
Wars T-shirt, an omelet in the pan. Keep asking
each other, how to move forward and the answer
will surely be nestled like a bullet in one of our guts;
if we dig deep enough we’ll extract it with tweezers
as in a game of dark Operation. Our language
has changed. What once coded love, now codes
fraught. We are the weather that humans only
pretend to predict with precision.
between us grows wider every day.


Katherine Gaffney completed her MFA at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is currently working on her PhD at the University of Southern Mississippi. Her work has previously appeared in jubilat, Harpur Palate, Mississippi Review, Meridian, and elsewhere. She has attended the Tin House Summer Writing Workshop, the SAFTA Residency, and the Sewanee Writers Conference as a scholar. Her first chapbook, Once Read as Ruin, was published at Finishing Line Press. Her first book is forthcoming from Tampa University Press after winning the Tampa Review Poetry Prize.

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