S. Yarberry


I say: I’m here. You say:
It’s like
looking at you
through water
, pressing
your hand to my chest.

picture to oneself.
What an intimacy— to form
an image
of my body,
across your mind.

It is un-speechable
to see what I see.

I shimmer. I am always

If you could touch me,
imagine the hard
undertow of our love—
momentum, then
destination. The swell
of being known. An oar
smacks the water: tension,
tension, then relief. Yes,
imagine our closeness then.


I move through this city—
an eternal disruption. The air
shawling and pewter and wet.

The catalyst is always the body
in motion. I move as a tear,
as in terror. Interrupt

into rupture. I I I false pillar
of history. I admit: I’m tumbling.
There was a time this meant
to dance with contortions—
it’s fond to think that way—
history, a simple epic memory:
contorted and queer and yours.

Human argument,
human integument

waiting for grass to puncture
a face too soft to bear. Verbal
cues and car windows create
thy form so flaccid and false,
or faulty— I should say.

I was afraid
and I was always that.
Trapped in what could be
and never was.

Cattails frill a childhood.
Seals bark in the nighttime.
The soul— a slippery fish. A thought
so mighty that it surmounts
my wild grasp.


I saw something live,
it was a beautiful thing—

and easy, like a bluejay shimmering in the light.

I stood there in the buzzing snow—
her eyes glaucopic as she sang

what if?
what if?

into the silence.

We were living together
in this place. We shrugged
off all other truths.

It was hard at first—
the blankness, the wanting.

Then it was all I had.

I stood still in the buzzing snow—
playing the hum of a copper opera in my mind.

What if I unknot what I need to say,
and still cannot say it?

Irresponsible. Irresistible.

An extravagant lack of an extravagant thing.

S. Yarberry is a trans poet and writer. Their poetry has appeared in Tin House, Indiana Review, The Offing, Berkeley Poetry Review, jubilat, Nat Brut, Sixth Finch, miscellaneous zines, among others. Their other writings can be found in Bomb Magazine and Blake/An Illustrated Quarterly. S. has a MFA in Poetry from Washington University in St. Louis where they now hold the Junior Fellowship in Poetry. They currently serve as the Poetry Editor of The Spectacle.