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River Elizabeth Hall

Doctor, Doctor:

Say clavicle. Say askance. Say bent.

Tell me about the warm carve of my body—

its lilt off the diagrams. Its pitch on the violence

of my posture. Mast cracked, shape-shifted in headwind.


Tell me, surveille me. I want to stand taller again,

held up by my own moorings, collared upright at the neck

like a minaret. Voice no longer quavering against the weather of my pain.

I want new ease slicked with drizzle or struck and electrified,

I don’t care as long as someone sees me.


I want to be charted like I’m the end of the known world.

A cascade of ocean falling over an imaginary

edge. A terminus someone might believe in—

against the odds and the facts. Find me

a continuum of possibility. An answer.


Divide me. Take out my spine,

Free me of this warped stack of bones,

like your anatomy chart gapped down the middle—

false binaries halved, reducing us all.


Leave me bisected and longing—

palms turned to the beholder, open and open again.

Forget which side to hold me up against.


Say defiance. Say heal. Say mercy.

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River Elizabeth Hall (she/her) is a poet, short fiction writer and naturalist. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in Cirque, Into the Void, Main Street Rag, Nimrod and Tinderbox among others. She leads Seattle Writers Circle, a generative seasonal workshop series aimed at building a supportive, creative community for writers. More about her writing and other offerings can be found at

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