it’s a voicemail when I’m standing
in line at the pharmacy I’m working
things out. yeah, I know, darling
leaving her is like driving
a splinter out of the thick
skin of your heel

meanwhile, my friend says something
to me about my “vulnerable state”
when I met you. but the truth
is, I wasn’t belly-up
until you walked
all over
my unmade mornings

I pull a magazine
from the shelf and
begin to read
there are plenty of articles
about how to end an affair
but none on how to start
a marriage

I flip the page
do you know what kind of creature
makes these bite marks?
I unhinge my jaw
from around the plush of my tongue



baikal, the deepest lake

………for jaz

you have the prettiest mass
of colorful yarn
in your wooly head
I love the way you look

up at the lights in this candy store
your lantern consciousness
wraps this whole town up in fabric
like a spun cocoon
quiet and shear enough to see
all the joyous colors bouncing around
from hand to hand
upon the street

I am careful not to lose you
outside, amongst the crowd
parting the sound
of people, like water
through slimy fish gills

can you feel it, baby? can you
feel the sun beams
fishing around your ears?

in november the ground is
not yet frozen
the snowflakes are melting
like saltines on hot soup
you’re cradling a bronze pear
and I’m thinking that ‘beauty’
means ‘good to eat’

I just wrote a poem for you
you know, poetry
it’s the way
we can swim out and into

In Siberia, there is a sea
it would be the fifth ocean
if the earth’s plates were
to move around some more
it crawls with a great population
of sturgeon

imagine putting yourself in
Siberia and swimming around
as a sturgeon through the treetops
imagine planting
your heart inside of your head
imagine that it starts to sprout
branches out of your ears
trees for the birds,
bees, and other flying things

back at my apartment
I feed you grilled cheese
in exchange for information
about those fish and some help moving
a pink sofa from the basement
up to the kitchen

we lounge within the cushions
the champagne with bubbles
like watery fish laughter
and I wrap a scarf around your cold hands

Lillian Sickler is a poet enrolled as an undergraduate at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst majoring in comparative literature. Writing poems since high school, she has been fortunate enough to study under the likes of Aracelis Girmay, Martin Espada, and Marilyn Chin in college. Lillian’s poems ‘Stars’ and ‘A Tributary’ were published by Words Dance Publishing in 2016 and two other poems will be published this upcoming fall in Asterism, a literary journal at Ohio State University. She is currently working on her first book of poetry. Lillian also works at a local candy store.