if you don’t have milk, whipped cream will do

by Elly McCarthy

my recursive heart, tethered 
to the tides and what will and what
does—she pleads for milk, 
for all the wrong things to soothe 
the rash crawling up her spine 
like ambitious bougainvilleas 

as we cycle in and out of hibernation 
strung unknowingly along, a line 
of ducklings anchored to their mother 
I hypothesize about whether we can survive
another winter when they keep on 

in absence of blatant rotting, we are still
intent on carrying out the process of dying
and I wonder where all the spiders are right now 
eyes hungry for tessellations, sensical sequences  
amidst the clouded afternoons 
I can’t help but

to love the existence of patterns and be 
forcibly bound to their iron heart 
sharp edges surprising, welcoming 
I urge her not to call these parts ugly 
to let them live another cycle unnamed 
not ready to part, yet constantly 
on the precipice 


Elly McCarthy currently lives in Chicago and spends as much time near the lake as possible. Her poems can be found or are forthcoming in The Raven’s Perch and Hooligan Magazine’s Spilled Ink, among others. You can find her on Twitter at @naturallog_