liam strong

once a month, a vacuuming


i twist my sister’s hair,
shed in vague abandon,

little snakes
of tangled anatomy,

snatched between
thumb and forefinger

off the floor.
spindled tendrils dangling like

an auburn fire falling
from my hands

to the garbage.
i scan the carpet as if

deciphering a map
to find and hold

in my hands
the threaded plenty

of small rivers.



streets of sky



in my lungs
when i sing

late night drives,
bend my throat
up with yours

as we taste
this warm zinc,
swollen love.


gold watch dawn
chimes sweat buds
crossing the

cyan tufts
in between

and your calls
to return
like loose smoke.


swimming night’s
dark shore, i
lean above

O’Hare, its
farms of light
like pumpkin

rows. i reach
down as if
to pluck flames.


getting mugged in toledo by a phantom


feels like
grazing the lightness of warm
fingertip against wintered iron,

jaw rattling tooth hymn.
here it
rains even when it doesn’t.

in the dank webbings
of Toledo alleys
that never seem to be dry,

i gargle blood and brick from
sneaking chin uppercut, mouth
all pulse and rush. i cough

graffiti in lieu of suburban rain,
spit awake to a foreign nakedness
in front of the Steak & Shake.
do the police hear
my throbbing cheek through
the phone the waitress handed me?

the newspaper moon crackles
through quilted clouds
above Division. there is

no sky without wallet. no self
without ID. no survival
without dollar or charge. the only

way to start over is to prove
you never existed to begin with.



liam strong is a bisexual poet from Northern Michigan, where he works as a writing and reading tutor and as the co-editor of NMC Magazine, a community creative arts effort produced by Northwestern Michigan College. You can find his work in the most recent issues of this, as well as Impossible Archetype, Painted Cave, Dunes Review, IDK Magazine, and Leaves of Ink.