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Budding

     Have you ever watched yourself

get sick? Doesn’t it always happen

     faster than that? You wake up

& something clicks. Your body

     was your body. Like a change in voice   cracks

where there never used to be. A friend says

     how on Zoom, we can’t do anything

without looking at ourselves.

     But when I chug wine from the bottle

I look right at my partner   trusting me — I worry

     if I test my limits   & fail

I might not even know it.

     When we watch The Walking Dead: every inch between your body    

                             & what’s out there

matters. I often forget   how many hours

     are wedged between us. I stay up

drunk & think of her sleeping, of how I’m the one stuck

     behind. I’m sorry — when I said I look at her on Zoom,

                   I lied.

My throat   filled with wine   is like red flesh

     faintly emerging from a stem   green

& withered.     I stare at my body.     Off camera,

     I hold it.


Zach Semel (he/him) is an M.F.A. candidate in Creative Writing at
Northern Arizona University. Some of his previous poems and essays have
appeared or are forthcoming in DIAGRAM, CutBank, Eclectica Magazine, The
Nervous Breakdown, Wordgathering, Breath & Shadow
, and other places.
His debut chapbook Let the tides take my body was awarded the May Day
Mountain Prize by Hunger Mountain. Find more of his work at
https://zachsemel.wordpress.com.

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