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Jesse Rice-Evans


My horoscope says I can take a break, but what counts for me? I must rest to be still human, and I must be still to be human. When may I change, my soft wings usually tucked away but emerge in private, an unfurling you must accept to become affective. I know it’s a not e but the technological ontology arbiters push back, I want an ontology of my own, of rest and recuperation, or food that is easy to cook, of porch swings and gentle reminders. The baseline means nothing against the promise of sunset, the slow arc of the sun setting rippling with humidity, stuff I promised before vanishing. 


I read about being a Libra Lilith and I know it’s available to me, to be powerful and incarnate, but I fridge it and bump the door closed with my hip. I take over the front room with my skins, I avoid the photos of people slaughtering animals hiding in the back. I promise: a reordering. I promise: leftover. I promise to reframe my idea of care to include myself. I am so good at care towards somebody else. The thin farm cat sharpens her claws up my pant leg, dirty with sweat unceasing, with recovery time after traveling, how I need a full day of laying down before being able to show up and do the damn thing. It’s OK, I tell myself. I am being kind, I am gentler than I take credit for. I do a dip and wave to the neighbors driving by in trucks. Slowness is an unfamiliar front porch, an embrace of the defiant, persistent stalks of green emerging everywhere, everywhere filling with bodies, pressing me into back bedroom or cement underpass prioritizing myself before mud before puns before driving on a familiar highway in an unfamiliar state. 


Letting me comb my ruined hair promises a blend of fists of berries and sunshine a rocking chair means Home and my rental car evokes power, sitting high above the holler in a cedar-ringed shack, screened windows losing breeze. I remind everyone to wave to the neighbors, knowing this well.


Jesse Rice-Evans (she/her/hers) is a white neuroqueer femme and Southern poet based in NYC (unceded Lenape territory). Read her work in The Wanderer, Peach Mag, Bad Pony, and FIVE:2:ONE, among others, and in her debut collection, The Uninhabitable (2019), from Sibling Rivalry Press.


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