I have a new poem out in Strange Horizons! It’s called “Survival in Six Easy Steps” and it’s very different from most of the poems I’ve written before. For one thing: it doesn’t have a love story.
I wrote it at the start of 2018, when all the political things that are currently going on in the world were just starting to happen, and I thought about how many of my friends felt like they needed a vacation, an escape, just to be able to deal with it all, and I thought of how often stress is literally a killer for marginalized people who speak up and dedicate their lives to activism, especially in the wake of a traumatic event. And so, I wrote this poem, about survival and the wilderness and not being able to escape the real world and how we keep living anyway.
You need to go into the wilderness, but there’s no one to take you.
There are women living under your bed,
in the refrigerator,
on every tree branch
on your way to work.
Their eyes are all different—
angry, hopeful, surprised, afraid—
but their hands are all the same. Cold,
bloodless, pulling your lids
up when you’re falling
asleep. Watching you brush
your teeth in the mirror, hiding
your good underwear in the back
of the drawer, forcing you to reach
down. Some days you roll your eyes
at them. Petty, like children.