Train tracks under an orange sky with sun

Three Poems by Zoë Fay-Stindt

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Like the Wildfires Out the Train Window, I was Born

with a bucket of grief and an unmanageable
hunger. The fire and I share pixels, atoms, an affinity
for creation. In this world, planting blueberry bushes
breaks my mother’s spine. If I let the world do
what it wanted with me, body as livewire. Instead
I drink wine with an old enemy and touch her knee
while the darkness takes over. The sky hasn’t been true blue
for weeks. Years. Summer solace with no a/c, I watch a fly
circle my areola. There’s no where she hasn’t touched.
Six small hands, and none of them bruising me.




Who was first
to call violence
a journey, foolproof cruise
to the other side of hurt
or innocence? Who said,
material! Said, use it!
These sharp and glinting
ornaments for my
over-watered lawn,
the audience humming,
sorrow-cooing, cheering
for the worst I have to offer.
I just want the ocean
to be an ocean—
and not on fire.
And no oily mouth, no
cindered bodies caught
in its orange jewel.
I want my mother’s vertebrae
to never break again, least of all
when she looks up to admire
the christmas lights brightening
our street, then leans back
to meet the stars
and just keeps falling.




I spent the summer naked. Crouched
as close to the earth as the earth would
let me, or my knees, crackling. I slept
on the crumbling terrace for a small lick
of breeze and listened to the wild boars
snort and root the soil up below, rub
their thistled sides against the trunks,
shaking. The neighborhood cat with one eye
came each night, claws out for pleasure
to knead my thighs before curling
into my curl. Though he’d hiss
when I adjusted, untouchable, we got on
like that, loving, two commas, holding
each other a little nervous, a little quick
to nip. All summer I moved my animal
self closer to the front. Yipped and yowled
out of this feral mouth, slept splayed, opened
to the stars. Made love sitting up, watched
the buck moon set red into the hills behind
my lover’s head, loud in my guttural living.
The world, affected, pulled me into the chorus.




Zoë Fay-StindtZoë Fay-Stindt is a queer, bicontinental poet with roots in both the French and American South. Their work has been Pushcart, Best of the Net, and Best New Poets nominated; is featured or forthcoming in places such as Southern Humanities, Ninth Letter, EcoTheo, and Poet Lore; and is gathered into a chapbook, Bird Body, winner of Cordella Press’s inaugural Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize. 

Header photo by Torychemistry, courtesy Shutterstock. is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, art, commentary, and design since 1998.