Laura S. Marshall

In Between

For affirmations to work, they have to be in present tense. Thirty ladybugs waiting on the step
when I get home, their wings red and half-raised, tails flaring. I love this, I tell them.

Half-sleep is a board game behind the eyelids, but when interrupted the rules decohere.
Tap your pulse points in their mixed-up Morse code. Untangle the blue lines in your wrists.

The stairway is full of overeducated ghosts. They jostle each other, all eyes and elbows. Some
days dance more stiffly than others; some only sway, but not for very long.

The wheelchair is unruly lately, surly. It lurks in corners, larger every time
I look at it. I abandon my cart in the decongestant aisle. Pseudoephedrine can't save us all.

It’s just the putting of one foot next to the other. The guided meditation tells
us to breathe. We breathe. We close our eyes. We count the ways we’re safe.

Shut Up and Drive

for years i couldn't say ​conduit​ in english could only say
the french ​conduit​ you can hydroplane at 35 miles per hour
you can drown in a quarter-inch of water you

can lose a hand if you're not careful how many fireworks
are enough how many calories in our destruction
how many grams of fat in a family what time does the gas station open

my pharmacy texts more often than my parents will we see you
for thanksgiving giving thanks for knowing the difference
between ​who​ & ​whom​ and lead​ & ​led​ which one of us

is the noun and which the participle dad’s going to buy a BB gun
for the squirrels in the attic i rub slow patterns
on the page for the sound of the friction triangular patterns

are the best patterns 3 is the best number no 5

Laura S. Marshall is a poet, educator, and former linguist. Her poetry and fiction appear or are forthcoming in Bennington Review, Lunch Ticket, juked, 8 Poems, decomP magazinE, Epigraph Magazine, Califragile, and elsewhere. She is an MFA candidate at UMass Amherst.

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