Even without an audience you’ll fight anything:
the last peach rotting in the fruit basket,
the dust I leave under the bed
and the big dumb December moon.

Your jaw unhinges like the snake
you ran over on the way to the falls,
eyes wider than the distance we never try
to close, hoping you won’t spill your guts to me

or anyone else. You pace the kitchen,
eyes on the fruit basket above my head,
as the moon tries and fails to dazzle us
from behind a cloud; now, all I want to do is run,

falling forward as I push for a distance
I’d give anything to get close to.
You’re not impressed anymore,
or you never were, and the peach keeps rotting

in the fruit basket and the dust keeps collecting
in the places you never try to reach and I’m trying
to remember what you were like before
you were unhinged but there’s nothing;

you’ve always been rotting
from the inside out.

This is a reprint of work originally published in The Cages We Put Ourselves In.

Catherine Friesen (they/them) is a queer and non-binary writer, editor, sometimes illustrator, and all-around nature lover living on the side of a mountain. They majored in psychology and creative writing in their undergrad and are currently working through art therapy grad school. When they’re not reading or writing, they can be found baking cakes, singing to their plants, or getting lost in the woods.

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