happiness is not just the absence of misery—the back door of a bar, you on your knees. some normative need

for misbehaving lets us feel again.

after the distance, which might take us back to where we started, there is plateau or downfall. you asked for

my hand and kissed it. the night could not be more.

we head the same way the planes land, which is westward. fiero, an emotion for which there is no english

equivalent. there are many others.

the concern over growth rather than sustaining—this city believes consideration is nonexistent. love, i

understand. we cannot give in to superfluous belief.

breathe normally. rip tides disappear after a while. remember how i taste, capri. remember that crossing the

line is how we’ve survived.


OLIVIA AYES is a queer writer, educator, and agent of change living in Tanzania. She has lectured at universities in the St. Louis area, as well as City University of New York. Her writing appears on Matador, Five Quarterly, Blackbird, Crab Orchard Review, and elsewhere. She blogs at NOTES FROM THE MARGIN.

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