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Floating

I’ve got bicycle chain grease on my knees
a long day out in the backyard and now

the low lit sun streaks the windows softly
evening breeze through glassy slats of sunsets. 

Rice cooker belches on the countertop 
steaming watercress and thick broccoli 

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Inhale

Close your eyes
Take a deep breath
Open your ears 

Can you hear the creaking 
of the ancient dog upon the wooden floor? 
Her clicking echoes as she searches for your hand. 

Take a deep breath
Open your nose

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Put Apart and Pulled Together

I’m scattered in the dust like 
a big stomp in the airless desert like 
a heady wind in a dry August 
that whips up bits of rock 
and hurls it at the gulch
to carve its graffiti marks — 

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Unmanned

When I glaze my donut eyes down into that well
of unknowing, I see my future self engaged
in war against a crystal ball. Funny how we’ve 
fallen like this, tumbling head over knees in a mad
dash for obscurity. But I beat you to it– 
she blinks back up at me, honeyed eyes like apples

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Notes on the Author

a prose poem.


JOSIE ROZELL lives in Belgium and teaches at the Institute of Tropical Medicine. She is credited with introducing the native populations of Papua New Guinea to off-brand pharmaceutical drugs, thereby saving villages a lot of money. This was only possible through a partnership with the organization, Tropical Partners, as she herself has never left Belgium. Her essays have been featured in such publications as Top of the Times, Outside Magazine, BeachGrit, and What’s It Like In There. She is the author of Get Out and Smoke and her newest book, Actually Stay Inside, is forthcoming from Antwerp Press. 

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Relief

Meager diet of flimsy moon dust, ‘til
someone goes up there with a sharp hacksaw – 
and the forest grows again, kicking back 
in sun beams unleashed from tree tops. Blissful
rain reaches for the thirsty ground, spreading like 
a cloak against the banyan roots. The saw
is handed off. Wrinkled hands with hungry fingers
dig fiercely, reclaiming broken justice. 
I watch the forest amuse itself with
people. Cut handsomely in the lower
valley, the satin breeze lengthens and breathes,
pushing ruby apples to the forefront.

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From the Lagoon


Here is the Sea 
the white tips of cresting horses 
the flush of Springtime goatfish
charming the mirror between life and depth. 

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Countertop

Caught fast in a spider web of chance;

loose lipped & dangling off the cliff face
trying to jive but getting jiggy with it 

the past trips itself up at the edges

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Hurricane in a Teacup

Gales like whipped up egg whites
flouncing along this flattened island, the Sea
now rancid and unwrapped like frantic unpacking 
panic in the uprising 

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Working Day

Giddiness scratched in the sand 
lucid letters that catch the drips
from eavesdropping palm trees. 

Pigeon’s in the workplace again
a fine peacock, half lunch leftovers
in a smoldering turtleneck slamming

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Fresh Air

The brain — beholding itself brashly with chords of 
wrought-iron wrinkles — quietly slips underneath
the sheets, far enough under to savor flavors 
of cottony cool. Growing quiet, it lingers 

in silence; the wash of fresh nothing permeates
the underside of the cotton sheet. Light breeze sweeps
against brain, cool and sweet, gentle coursing of blood 
flowing, symbiosis. Big breath — if brains could breathe — 

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Sonnet for the Times

Underwater my limbs waver in front of me — 
gently, muscularly, I exhaust the ocean
scrubbing raw against the salt flakes, crystal above
the bleached coral. Clinical cleanliness, writing 
before you read, style, speaking before you think. 
Mercy plays in opposites:  monk seals reclining
decked out in caution tape; whole beaches receding 
and the distance between the islands increasing. 

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