Gnashing Teeth Publishing

| words that get in your teeth

someone whose name rhymes with italics by Natalye Childress

the face of a woman with blue hair

for alex tretbar.
       grief: from the latin gravis, “heavy, grievous, sad.”

i became acquainted with a new shape of
grief and i don’t know how to hold it in such
a small space. i tried to put it in my pocket,
but it’s a can’t-be-contained grief. i tried to
fold it into a paper crane, a flower, but it’s not
a valley-mountain-inside-outside-reverse grief.
i tried to take deep breaths, pushing it down
into my bronchioli, but it’s a carbon dioxide grief, a
dissolving-in-my-tears-pushing-the-air-out-of-me grief.

this grief is bold and relentless, metastasizing. it’s a
sequestering grief, traveling through capillaries to
underline in blood how alone i am. and until i met
someone whose name rhymes with italics, i thought
my grief was a body of water and i, a tender
anchored to its whim. but he thinks my grief is
emphasis, that maybe it’s trying to tell me something.

we’re constructing a shared vocabulary,
piecing our pain — once lived and being lived
— into semblances of sentences, like magnetic
poetry on a fridge, or tiles on a scrabble board.

someone whose name rhymes with calyx is a
whorl, wrapping around me. his petals like hands,
keeping me upright as i take root in a foreign
terrain. he is showing me: that hardship begets
growth. that pain can’t be edited off the page.
that solitary doesn’t have to mean alone.

it’s a kindness he offers, though his debts aren’t to
me. he has real worries, like a ringing in his ears,
and a warm blanket he can’t afford to slip under.

       and yet, he’s slicing at spaces
       between the pendulum swings,
       fashioning a crude vessel
       where i can place my overflow

Natalye Childress (she/her) is a Berlin-based editor, writer, and translator. She has an MA in creative writing, and her first book, The Aftermath of Forever, was published by Microcosm Publishing in 2014. Find her at

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by Natalye Childress

*this poem is in .jpg to preserve formatting *this is the unformatted text of the poem after rainer maria rilke you, the poet, have become world weary, word-wrought. and god

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dripped on the blanket while air rustled tamarind trees. Chekhov drank a Thai iced tea and plummeted out of this poem. A flock of circles twittered in the hacksaw bushes


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