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Caitlyn Tella




I’ve perfected my vanishing act

it’s no longer an illusion



I imagine you

talking to me

when I’m not there


You go blind with sensation / no, sensation

aims it’s glowing, sizzles cataracts / You just

wanted to say sizzle and cataract


says who fingerprinting my red

nipple and beyond

the fence my blind

94-year-old neighbor

arranges flowers


Without a body can you even

have sex anymore? / technically


stripped as a profane flower

penetrating earth to meet sky


What does it feel like

to live in the sky? / backlit

as fuck / And what was it like

underground? / remember

the imprint the pit makes

in the flesh of a nectarine?


here, pluck my teeth


now tongue the cave

etching my mute—

mute— mutilated gum


wrestling contraction

I think

it’s so sexual to be born,

to be born again

virgin. I’m ready now

to examine my delusions    


but they vanish



                                                                                            An ancient bot barely

                                                                                            legible through fuzzy

                                                                                            scratchings of spinal cord:                        


how many years                                         do I have                                          to go back to sleep          


to be young again?                                     the deader I look                              the more I’ll need a corpse              


career to survive.                                        scratch                                             my undereye ditch with a fork


site                                                             of my drunk hope.                           this script writes itself—


every word                                                 I spoke                                             in order.    


I’m tired                                                    of acting like myself                         but I can’t sleep                    


it off

                                                Your choreography is to walk

                                                in reverse until you reach the tree

                                                where you were born, impeding your path.

                                                Singe its roots, now shape your body

                                                to fit inside the hollow coils

                                                                                                                      what are we? enduring     


yet another performance                         under the amber wash?                    stuck


in the door jamb                                     of the familiar                                 chamber?


                                                Do the dance where you’re not allowed

                                                to leave the chamber except to practice

                                                holding your breath as you crawl

                                                through fields of static. Repeat

                                                until your lungs soften to an emollient


I intend to remain here                          until it is so excruciating                   the whole audience bails.    


my advice?                                             never fade away                                 only exit


                                                The human tells the same story

                                                to your face three nights in a row, convinced

                                                you’re a different person each time. While it’s happening

                                                grip your sameness to make it tangible and

                                                exit to the wings, illiterate of death


the only thing I miss                            about sleep is the rest                         I don’t miss the beginning


where you have to lower                       your body to the bed                         close your eyes   


I don’t miss the middle                         with all the dreams                            and I don’t miss the end   


where you have to open                        your eyes                                          circle them in coal


and look alive


Caitlyn is an actor and theater instructor from the Bay Area. More info at


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