Self-Portrait as Something Under A Microscope

“And the first object he look'd upon, that object he became”
—Walt Whitman,


You’re so small. They pulled the needle
out of the haystack and somehow found you. Chopped up
your heart and made a puzzle out of your face.
Speak now, or forever hold your piece.


There are four bones to pick
with existence—your limbs.
Pick them up. Put them back where they belong,
in their truest hiding place.


Predictable is the size you will remain when the sun comes up
as it pours its’ rays upon your head, proclaims: HERE YOU ARE
AND HERE YOU FOREVER SHALL BE. Nothing’s going to happen
before it takes place.


Sometimes the dust gets caught in your eye. You treat it
like an artifact. The mirror you stare at is made of glass
and dissonance. It’s so large and you’re—

Duplex (I Have Spoken Up)

after Jericho Brown


I have spoken up, hoping to be heard.
There is little I want more than a voice.


         There is little I want more than a voice
         To say things my shadows can understand.


Saying things my shadows can understand
Is easy, because all they want is no.


         All they want it no, and that’s the difference.
         That’s the difference between me and a yes.


This is the difference between me and a yes:
Yes fulfills, and I am left wanting.


        Yes fulfills, and I am left needing
        A microphone, so I can speak in white noise.


In this microphone, I speak in white noise.
It is more than enough. It hopes to be heard.

Ottavia Paluch is fourteen and a high school student from Ontario, Canada. Her work is published in The Rising Phoenix Review, Gigantic Sequins’ Teen Sequins feature, Alexandria Quarterly, Body Without Organs, and Canvas, among other places. She indulges often in dark chocolate and listening to Radiohead.

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