IN SPECTER OF SALT
Teenage scars migrate from arm to bicep
Those clumps in the toilet A heavy period
Playing my pussy’s suppository penny whistle
Toast with sugar and drinking vinegar
We simmer a strawberry shrub
Feel for the horn at the base of the neck
Grown from this grotesque Internet
Our future will be happy for now
Love that dissipates into a gradient of narcissism
Would you beg for your life? I don’t run
to catch the bus, but cure the sweating sickness
with a cold shock response
Searching for a salt cave to slip into
Felt-hat Russians seated in a wood stove sauna
A broom of fragrant birch branches
Whipping our bodies омар red
VALE OF CASHMERE
A man is quacking at a swan
as steel drums play somewhere behind.
James says get the tears out
before the meeting. Good advice.
I dreamt I was drinking a glass
of cider and ice with a straw.
My heart is broken, I wrote
on Instagram after my mother died.
In the ravine, I felt a moment
of connection with the trees.
I moved a turtle off the trail,
its limbs moving in its heavy shell
as it hissed, contorting its head
back. It wanted to bite me.
That would have been alright.
I blinked and flashes
filled the forest, sparks emitted
from the end of a magician’s wand.
Things vanish quickly,
the bird inside the tree trunk,
the last text message
my mother ever sent.
In the Vale of Cashmere,
I sat surrounded by fireflies,
listening to a harpist playing
over the cacophony
and on the walk home
came across a peacock,
a rabbit, a family of raccoons,
and my friend Irene.
Another lightning bolt—there
now I’m gone.
BRIDLE PATH WALK OF SHAME
In the Uber to your parents’ house
I roll my eyes at myself
Are there people in your life
who remind you of your worst self?
You like the angle of my lenses
like I like doughnuts and rebar
I lick the salt under your nails
We can’t have sweetness all the time
Ugo Rondinone’s three neon boulders
precarious in the teardrop drive
That oil painting in the foyer—
We suspect it’s haunted
The previous owners absconded
With the doorknobs and sconces
We burn the cursed Marseilles deck
and swallow pomegranate seeds
Two creatures buzzing
with tenderness and brutality
Let’s not speak of Ronnie’s
We inspect each other’s teeth
Each of our midnights in the bathtub
Always say yes, never say when
In the morning we take the wrong bus,
racing when it comes again
Cassidy McFadzean studied poetry at the Iowa Writers' Workshop and fiction at Brooklyn College. She is the author of two books of poetry: Drolleries (McClelland & Stewart 2019) and Hacker Packer (M&S 2015). Recent poems have appeared in annulet, Denver Quarterly, and Tupelo Quarterly.