PERSISTENCE by Jessica O. Marsh

It threatens to charm me: the sternness of centers. Oh, I have turned away to find my sister
caught in a net of the same time.

Walking among trees, my interest in their bodies turns me back. Call it lost. The seer in me
clicks on her crystal ball. “Serpents and ice,” she says, just before tripping back into her grave.

Paranoia’s the root of all knowledge. But the tree has no mantra. The steep present tense held
me, weak. Repent or persist. Resist or be cast as yourself.

Resist ads or have spells cast in your sleep. Matching sweatsuits seep into my skin. I pull out
the stent and get blood on the leopard print hoodie. A cistern, a pill box, a pocket, at least a
thousand bodies.

To start. What was the seemed fear that I turned away from? The cistern where I washed my
face and looked up to see another. Sir, I am a pest. I say, while my back is turned. I have the
head of an owl.

I do see your expression—I call it. Ice is a pretense I sweat out. A week. Open and closing the
door is a no body to seek.

The spell dripping off my palm is persistence. Pincers and tines. The sea is relentless, it woos as
it blinds. We are not quite is-or-isn’t.

Jessica O. Marsh resides in New York City.  Her work has appeared in journals including Action Yes, Lana Turner, LIT, Prelude and The Winter Anthology; she is also the author of a chapbook Our Names in Circulation (Patient Presses).  She is currently a student of Narrative Medicine at Columbia University