Aries descending a staircase | by Clair Dunlap

had the natal chart drawn and redrawn, wishing
on my own thin bones for the stars to spit me out some other way.
five years and i’m still mad, but
they say i was born to be this sort of ugly.

in the mirror the scream, blue and waiting, looks herself in the eye, says
the stars must have fucked up. paints herself entrail pink
and smiles. is this how to grow softer? or is it quicker
to skip the mask, simply
cry at the bus stop when you see him in your neighborhood?
tenderize yourself with all the ways there are to unceremoniously
cease. every time it starts to work
some blue part of me always reminds the heart

someone else did this to us

& i remember this cannot be put out
so simply. you must always smother the source.


at night i send the lure down my throat, cross each finger that
the dark, hot blue will come up with the line this time.
if i shriek loud enough, will it be over?
can i undo him from my canon? can i be happy? and


what will the stars call me then?



Clair Dunlap grew up just outside Seattle, Washington, and started writing at the age of six. She is the author of In the Plum Dark Belly (Beard Poetry 2016). Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Hobart, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Noble / Gas Quarterly, Souvenir, and more. She currently lives in the Midwest and answers questions in an academic library. Twitter: @smallgourd

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