by Zach Semel
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,
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