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Dear Ventilator

Today I unfollowed you on Twitter; X— asked, what is the equivalent of that from before: deleting someone from your phone? cutting them out of a family photo? When A—’s boyfriend dumped her in college we made a snowman in effigy and sledded on top of him until he was stamped flat, a tiny gherkin from the cafeteria for a penis. I don’t want revenge, I want oxygen, there’s no pettiness left in me, these hours are too precious, told one by one like a carmelite’s beads. I don’t care what you do as long as you do it somewhere else. The dog lies down in the grass and refuses to get up, goes limp on the leash until I give up and sit down in the grass next to him, helpless with laughter. It’s a red-flag day onshore, a girl looks sad and cold in a bikini, boys throw a frisbee, workers are still building two-million dollar houses next to the parking lot, pastel yellow, pale blue. Who will live there? They’re all empty. I don’t want to sit empty. I know you better than anyone alive, when you’re done with someone you’re done, your edge is clean. In my bedroom, a frantic moth beats her velvet away on the window blinds, so I fumble for anything to catch her and my hand lands on my old monk’s bowl. I cup around her so carefully because I’ve killed like this before, slide my lineage chart between glass and hand, toss her up, up into the air and she flies away and we’re both free, may all beings find their way alone.


JSA LOWE's poems have appeared in such publications as AGNI, American Scholar, Black Warrior Review, Chicago Review, Denver Quarterly, DIAGRAM, Hobart, Michigan Quarterly Review’s Mixtape, Q/A Poetry, Salamander, Salt Hill, Screen Door Review, Sinister Wisdom, Superstition Review, Third Coast, and Versal. She has published two chapbooks, DOE and Cherry-emily. She is a lecturer in English at the University of Houston, where she received her PhD; she lives on Galveston Island.


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