S. Yarberry






Days pass like perfume into the air.


Fear eats at you like a dog. There’s


a dog in the neighbor’s yard. You listen


as the bus comes and goes and comes


and goes. You call this: keeping time.


There was once a harbor, in your childhood,


the harbor kept expensive boats


and strange animals. Occasionally


a big fish, a seal, a dolphin. There was nothing


safe about the harbor, though you were


told it was so. When you entered the


harbor it felt like anything, anything


at all, could hurt you. And then


you felt like that all the time. There’s a noise


in the other room. There is always


something that should not be, being,


being and won’t be stopped.




In the days that followed many words were


said. You had to have known. You had to


have known. You enter a stranger’s house


per their instructions. You get into bed.


Oblivion. A bed is like a harbor. Anything


can happen. Anything can hurt you. If you


want to be hurt? You can wear your


pain like a badge upon your shoulder.


If you want to be hurt you can live


through anything. What do you mean?


A voice is asking, is asking everyday.


I don’t mean anything, I don’t mean


anything by it. You’re almost shouting.


The truth so close to your lips. You take notes:


blue armchair, dripping faucet, three cans


on the coffee table, blue sheets, blue


blankets, blue coat. You wish to wear


oblivion like a coat. You don’t mean anything,


the voice says back, almost laughing now.




In the morning the snow is dust, snow dust.


In the morning there is a lone body


on the sidewalk. The body is walking


towards you. The streetlights casting a


weak glow. Dawn sputtering. Daylight


grizzling above the pines. The body


moves like it is scared of you. You stay


very still like you’re scared too. You can


taste wine from last night still on your


breath. You brush snow from your windows.


Slowly. You’re touching everything slowly.


Your hands are numbing, but you don’t stop.


In the car the heat feels good. The heat


feels good in the morning. Where am


I going? Last night, you let her do what


she wanted. What she wanted became


what you wanted. There’s a bruise on


your body. You feel it against your shirt.


There’s a bruise on your body like a pool.


Inside the bruise you put the memory. It


wades in and never comes out.


S. YARBERRY is a trans poet and writer. Their poetry has appeared in Tin House, Indiana Review, The Offing, Redivider, jubilat, Notre Dame Review, The Boiler, miscellaneous zines, among others. Their other writings can be found in Bomb Magazine, The Adroit Journal, and Blake/An Illustrated Quarterly. They currently serve as the Poetry Editor of The Spectacle. S. has their MFA in Poetry from Washington University in St. Louis and is now a PhD candidate in literature at Northwestern University.