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The Metropolis in Oversaturation

By Kat Mulligan

On the lawn, a grasshopper rubs its legs together—

it is as if in one blade of time we were

the same green creature working perfume into

the wrists.

In juvenility, every experience had just

achieved ripeness,

I had just achieved fruit-picking height,

my microcosmic life had just achieved

its thrifted perfection.

The heart is happier when it is small,

when it owes less blood, less money

to the house.

The womb is happier when for the first time

it ceases to be ignored,

even thick in its stained snowfall.

Significance narrows to the box of four shoulders,

there is nothing more impressive than unfamiliar pain,

and, Mother, we would be lucky to go out dancing

just this once…

But now I happen to be the cold wench of this city—

far less green than the only perfect lover

I ever found in it.

I fold hearts into the top sheet like the last attempt

at a love letter sent abroad,

I fold my hands to complain to God for two weeks straight

in Catholic Westmount,

I fold and keep on folding to break down the many square miles

of this oozing metropolis.

I am somehow not satisfied by the basement swelling with sex,

and even the girl I kissed says it wasn’t worth the money.

Do we have a fitting tongue to savor the best of this world?

Does glory usually itch like this?

I have studied the walls, and I see no romance

chiseled into the architecture of France’s brutalist mutt.

Every Thursday we get raw,

every Tuesday steam gets smeared on the red windows—

and none of my old classmates ever take the metro.

In juvenility,

the first contacts were sharp enough to

cut breath—and life was a muscle

that climbed carefully up a sore ladder.


Kat Mulligan is a Montreal based poet and student whose work has appeared in Soliloquies Anthology, orangepeel, and Crab Apple Literary, among others.


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