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Emily Kendal Frey


The salad was mostly purple detritus.  He threw it out.  He got on the bus. Someone in back barfed into a paper cup. Once they’d planned to drive to the ocean. He wanted to put his hand on her back under an awful amber lamp. Out the window the city kept eating itself.  My mother, he thought, is a sad person.  He felt so sorry.  He might not ever see the ocean.


She was an angel of invincibility.  This has to do with her mouth. In public sometimes it was hard not to stare. Her mouth, moving its jewels around. He tried to show her art but art is everywhere, she said.  That’s a cop out, he said, and they argued for a while.  Got on and off the subway. Skidded on pennies. He was about to shave his mustache off.  He had a lot of worries, and she could see them, little airy napkins falling from his pockets.


She didn’t know how long to wait.  It kept raining. It wasn’t a familiar rain, but it wasn’t new, either. “Talk to me,” she’d say to the gutter-bound trash— the needles and the red plastic bits.  She called her mother on the phone and didn’t leave a message.  She put her hands deep into the spot between her legs in their jeans.


from Sorrow Arrow


Did you think there was room for “real” love?

If you dug a hole in me you could get in?

Wheel-y green trash container

I might grow large and contain your inability to contain me

You don’t believe me

I am not believable because you don’t believe me

In geometry we were given a protractor and a compass

It’s like art the teacher said

I wore crayons to nubs filling space in

Rainbows taught me everything

This is a mean fucking world



Don’t fuck with me, Christian PTA moms

My sandwich is overly mayonnaised

The cheapest thing to do in winter is get a disease

No one can figure out where the sky comes from

Trees lifting into the mist

The horrible light of morning

Shuffle in and out of sleep

Thighs aching like a giant

Pain is not interesting

Moms twisting their fingers on Caesar salad napkins

Moms with empathic bangs

Pin a badge on the dirty river

With my god hand I put us inside my father’s new heart



I had to leave the cafe because of sexual tension

It was so loud

Yellow bee legs

There are a few styles of public readings

Woman poets in flowy dresses

Taut verbage

Slim males with deliberate facial hair exploiting homoerotic energy 


White people who think their feelings are interesting

Breathing and breathy

Often a day ends upon waking

Why must you fiddle with time

What’s this time bullshit

I want dilemmas involving god and coastal highways



Our rainbows faded

We’ll grow old

Trends that back off

A light blue sweatshirt says WASHINGTON in white puffy letters

Plastic headbands pinch at the spot behind your ears

A woman with a beautiful fishtail braid is pumping cream into her coffee

All night I dreamt of the possibility of dreaming

I woke to drink water, look out the window

Some sweatshirts are lined with a fake collar

You can still buy them at airports

People eating and eating and eating

I guess there’s a point to it

Taking off their clothes, arm by arm

Leg by leg, getting into bed

The moon hurting itself on the sky

Waiting one day longer to die



Our whole lives we’re going to be metal towers rising out of the wasteland

How long must we wait to be abandoned

Who reads books about gardening? 

You just put your hands in the dirt
It’s not that I’m better but that my love is thicker
I disavow what I say when leaving the cavern
Remember my love letter? 

Burning like a planet in a drawer

Is anyone “ready” for anything? 

Readying, I stare at the ceiling from my crib

Blue velvet curtains

My father, singing

My mother in the garden, hopeful as a Marxist

Science is facts without value

Spectrometer of joy
In the park I gnaw grass
Man with spiked leather jacket, taking iPhone self-portraits

It’s arbitrary

If I let go, a burnished rainbow

Apparently I never finished my essay called The Value of Love

Three ferns outside your house, symmetrical and reaching

I loved you instantly

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