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December 7, 2023

Self Portrait as Failed Homosexual

Elena Ferrari

I’m so good at pawing through guilt, so

        good. There were men pecking down

the walls of the house with thin-tined

        forks and so it wasn’t lonely, but now I

think anything could carry something

        if the something were small enough—laughed

like a mail-slot, swore to pack my atoms'

        buzzing stomachs. But really—I’ve been

knocking on supporting beams like exhales, the unnamed

        search in a calculus-world’s balance.

I’ve started naming the boy in my dreams Mario

        because I don’t know what to call him,

call myself. It’s like this: an old, Antarctic burn:

        the infirmities of whom I’ve loved. Guilt

is a hang-head thing—swear to it, smear it to

        the back of my neck and the sweetness

throbs for hours.


ELENA FERRARI is a high school senior living on the East Coast. Her work has been recognized by the Poetry Society, Smith College, Susquehanna University, and the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and is published or forthcoming in Eunoia Review, Blue Marble Review, Apprentice Writer, and elsewhere. When not looking at small things through microscopes, she can be found peering into a book or puzzling over force diagrams.

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