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Both Window and Light

by Rachel R. Carroll


If the poem’s going to start in the

middle, I’m going to ask you to

pay attention from the beginning. Don’t

make me repeat myself,


repeat the truths about her

I daydreamed admitting but

tried not to think. Remember my hands?

Tight around all the heavy nothing at my side


when you introduced us?

Of course not, you staring up at her like she was both

the stained glass and the light making

love to the window.


(If I fell short of his idea of ‘girl’

and overshoot yours, whose rigidity will I

measure my fluidity against? Who will

help me carry all these cloaks?)


But in December came un-falling.

Both of us churned out by the lake’s icy

waves, two shipwrecks of two perfect ideas.              

Still: dreams always yield to wakefulness, and I grow


tired of wringing my clothes.                  

There is a box under my bed

labeled “vices,” and you know it’s no metaphor, I

used them all. Please


don’t make me repeat them. 

But if I manage to write a new one, I could let



Rachel R. Carroll (they/them) (Ray if you’re nasty) is a non-binary poet who is also hard at work on their first novel. Their work has appeared in Polaris Magazine, The Gravity of the Thing, and SUGAR Magazine. After studying Creative Writing and Gender Studies at the University of Southern California, Ray moved to Brooklyn, where they have worked as a bookseller and special educator. When not busy pursuing their masters in middle school education, Ray can be found reading compulsively, maintaining their snail mail correspondences, or desperately trying to establish trust with the colony of cats living outside their bedroom window.

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