Marissa Schwalm

Newspapers line the hallways,

pour into the bedrooms, surround

the toilet. They suffocate the ceiling,

heavy stacks, with sun-stained

age-spot eyes, circular and yellowed.

Napkins and old receipts line his pockets,

pouch out as he sits, a tower of legs,

arms and never-ending torso jabbing out

from the seemingly child-sized couch.

The sound of clinking ice is thunder

any summer night, when the cool

winds from the north are about to

unwillingly buckle from the force

of the heat.

In her thin fingers, small trinkets,

dirtied from outside,

leave pebbles of brownness as they

become ants, cities, a family.

In brown, earth-loving hands

they break, slammed down smaller

than anything, than dust, than herself.

Marissa Schwalm is a Ph.D. student in English Literature and Creative Writing at Binghamton University in New York, where her fields of study include contemporary poetry and creative nonfiction. Her creative work has been published most recently in Clockhouse Review, Decompression, and others. She is current co-editor in chief of the Binghamton University graduate-run journal Harpur Palate.

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