top of page

Cass Donish

Queer Time

We’re living in dead time


so many times 

        before I lost her 

I almost lost her


        though her skin  

                was warm as wine 

        in a sunned jar


and she talked about it

        how close she’d gotten

                to that threshold

        that world in which


she was already 

        wind in fig tree 

                shocked light 

        cypress tilt​      hawk light


We’re living in dead time


        though I held her 

                sunned shoulders

        in my two hands


the thought was here

        when she was alive

                that she could have 





Dead time. Borrowed time. A window narrowing. A tipping point. I felt like I was watching

her die. It was hardhard for others to seesee even whenwhen we tried to say       




                        I cherish the years we had after the first scares.





        my heart is cool now

                made of discolored clay 

        images flow backward

                pounding under pressure


        my knees are shunned 

                blue oranges

                                washing into the sea


We’re living in dead time

                as common as


                for our kind

author photo moon_Donish.jpg


Cass Donish is a queer poet and writer from California. They are the author of the poetry collections Your Dazzling Death (Knopf, 2024); The Year of the Femme (University of Iowa Press, 2019), winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize; and Beautyberry (Slope Editions, 2018). Their nonfiction chapbook, On the Mezzanine (Gold Line Press, 2019), was selected by Maggie Nelson as winner of the Gold Line Press Chapbook Competition. Donish has taught creative writing at Washington University in St. Louis, University of Missouri, Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop, and Ashland University’s low-res MFA program. They live in Columbia, Missouri, where they host the Ladybug Salon.

Bear Review


bottom of page