By Kaitlin Rikala

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Images that include gore, unhealthy relationships

Dandelion yellow sundress, 
scraped knee, champagne 
in plastic flute vengeance. 
Mosaics of sunlight melted 
my toes into fertile soil, 
twisted up in dance.
Buttered rays injected 
directly into my bloodstream;
my enemies destroyed. 
Pine trees with bending boughs 
offered shade as I devoured
picnic baskets full of lust. 

Running barefoot 
through the woods was a midday specialty,
soles charred. 
I left myself to rot in freshly 
baked dirt, my veins dug
into the soil and formed roots. 
Love affairs with wolves in sheep’s 
clothing in electric blue houses with silver roots
only leads to flipped 
mattresses and bruises 
that bloom lilac in moonlight vengeance.
Repeating the mistakes of your mother
is a devastating blow that leaves your insides 
charred, chewed up, 
intestines mixed with slushy 
blue saliva, an internal dance. 
I want to escape Midwestern gothic, 
cornstalks with deep roots, 
faded raspberry sunrises, 
crisp winter mornings that ignore 
howling dogs, untethered lust. 

I can be the bloated doe’s corpse on the highway,
rising mile markers screaming vengeance. 
I am crushed honeysuckle thriving 
in the beaming, decaying sun;
I am haunted by dance. 
Pirouette pointed toes, harbor dusty pink nausea, 
strawberry lust, 
peach pit desire, a queer dance.

Kaitlin Rikala (they/them) is a 23 year old that graduated from UWEC with a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Art History and Creative Writing. They are currently attending The University of Chicago as a Master’s student. Their work has been featured in the literary magazines None of The Above, Angel Rust Magazine and New Note Poetry, among other places. Find out more at

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