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Zefyr Lisowski


I spent years not remembering and, once I did, it was a riverbed.

It was a flood. It was highwater jeans.

I spent years trying to become a little saintly girl and threw my cell phone into the French Broad River.

Threw my cell phone down the well. Threw my throw-up in my hair.

Are you listening?

For a decade I devoted myself only to beauty. I worked at it, made a poem about my beauty. Made many poems about my beauty.

What can we do with the beauty that’s done unto us.

I’ve tried to be a better person and failed.

Do you remember the woods.

My favorite artist said “I’ve tried to be a better person and failed,” again and again. He said it on fifteen thousand separate pieces of paper and this is why he’s my favorite artist. Painted millions of girls and they all looked like me.

Blonde mop of hair. Thin angel of a dicklet. Torn bright rompers, the flood of them.

Do you remember the woods.

My favorite artist painted until he died, which presents a sort of logical  end to it all.

And what you did in it.

Do you remember what you did.

In the woods I throw my cell phone down the well. There was no toilet nearby so I throw my throw up in my hair. I lace up my boots and undo my entire body.

I don’t need to tell you the ways I have failed.

I’ve tried to undo it all but all my little gender squeezing into the well hole and do you remember what you did.

It was an abattoir. It was a well hole. A grove of laurels. Your hands.

I’ve given up on beauty, but when did the betterness leave.


Maybe after we give up on beauty, we enter a better world.

The well, the water, the birds              calling

Maybe in the better world it smells like peppermint. Where we get justice for all the years we wore highwater jeans.

All the justices still clattering on.

We are in the woods. I am talking to you. Look at my dazzling eyes. Do you remember what you did.

Maybe in the better world, you are listening.

I threw my cell phone in the well.

Maybe there there’s no remembering at all.

Zefyr Lisowski Author Photo.png

Zefyr Lisowski is a trans writer and North Carolinian currently based in New York City. She's a poetry co-editor at Apogee Journal, a 2019 Tin House Summer Workshop attendee, and is the author of Blood Box (Black Lawrence Press 2019). She lives online @zefrrrrrrr and at


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