The Journal Petra

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Emily Barton Altman

is the word you
chose. Maybe
I chose it.
I'm repeating it now.

Alice, you're so

Alice hedges.
She is not always

Perhaps Alice
is overused.
She repeats her
syllables over
on her tongue.

Alice distributes
her sameness even
carries stones
for balance

Alice folds
her grievances in small envelopes
sewn into pockets
full of nails

In a river full
of plastic bottles
Alice casts her vote
they carry the past

Alice is round
with death swollen
with ankles

the city empties
behind Alice's back
the trains know something
Alice does not

Alice folds the laundry, creases
carefully it is Wednesday
the river bank all blue and red
and waiting.

Alice breaks

the sky omits itself
the fog

Emily Barton Altman is the author of two chapbooks, "Bathymetry" (Present Tense Pamphlets, 2016), and "Alice Hangs Her Map" (forthcoming from dancing girl press, 2018). Her poems appear in Dream Pop Press, Ghost Proposal, TL;DR, and elsewhere. She is a recipient of a Poets & Writers Amy Award and received her MFA from New York University. She co-hosts and produces the poetry podcast Make (No) Bones with her partner, Toby Altman.