Static Cling / Cathleen Allyn Conway

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Emileigh Barnes is a first-year poetry MFA student at the University of Mississippi whose work has most recently appeared in Nibble and Southern Women’s Review. Before being accepted at Ole Miss, she garnered more than 400 article publications working as a journalist in four newsrooms across the country. She also served as editor-in-chief at The Daily Iowan in Iowa City. Still fairly new to creative publishing, she is interested in the intersection of poetry and science.


Your chest was bared
and smooth —
there was one magpie,
and then another.
I was trying
to convey something.
what I remembered,
the recipe for snow cream:
one can
sweetened milk,
four cups of ice.
In a video, you were
riding a motorbike,
and the earth was red
all around you.

When a body.
Red surged in the ocean,
opened like tea blossoms,
like the milk in your tea.
When there was fear on your face,
it looked like I don’t know you.
Seawater warmed to us,
or around us. Or
in spite of us.
This is what pain looks like:
I cannot rest when you’re close to me.
The sunfish were all openmouthed and writhing.
In the water, our parts were bowed.
Our skin was tinged littoral.

When a body is missing.
Mouth to the
earth, I sucked
on the ground,
like the afternoon
you succored nettles
from my legs.
There is always more pain
than we can account for.

Given / Emiliegh Barnes