About the Feature

All around us, society is being used
to tell itself a story.

Know what it doesn’t say?

Doesn’t say precisely how
this one brick got here, how it got
to be part of this walkway, only one
of its faces visible.

Doesn’t say how this brick shines
with wind. You’re beautiful.

One thing I’m not debating
with myself is whether
the desire to say so
is urgent.

Know what we are?

Two organisms that crossed paths.

Know why I didn’t speak?

Trying to hush
the moan I heard
in my head.

I’m in pain and thinking
about dying. Body wishing
this little moment
(the sun just set, the sky dim,
water sloshing against brick)
could be its last.


I can’t hear what you’re asking—
maybe you’re not
saying anything.

I answer that your skin smells like
lemon, and when we’re in the fields
the scent gets stronger,

and when I speak
your skin sloughs off
and yellow light shoots from the top
of your head into the sky.

Much later, we’ll all be
just little hills
with stones on top.
I have a sweet feeling.


If the universe is an overgrown garden
the size of a universe—

and if all human knowledge is the size
of this little lemon balm patch—


My body sends information to
my body. Out with it.

The sky, too, has a soul.

Above a cloud field,
the light keeps painting
a pink sea, a rosy welt.

Your cheeks, too, are pinked.

You’re in motion
because beheld.


I took a street,
I put my palm over its eye.
But the street led to a shore;
but when the ocean splashed out,
there was a water stain on the sky in the shape of a vertebra.

My body was a sculpture made only of salt. It fell beneath
a curtain, the interminable salt water

About the Author

Cassie Donish's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Best New Poets 2015, Quarterly West, Sixth Finch, Jellyfish, Forklift OH, and elsewhere. An editor of the literary magazine The Spectacle and the anthology February, she's currently an MFA candidate and Olin Fellow at Washington University in St. Louis.