Chelsea Harlan


We slept sitting up like it was the Middle Ages
in our car in the parking lot at a rest stop in the desert
somewhere near Zyzzyx, California
when all I wanted was to get out of California
and my menstrual cup filled with my own chunky blood
and the sun came up like a trend over the faraway rocks
I dreamt a falcon took the diamond from my necklace
and he wouldn’t give it back
and you said the symbolism was heavy and obvious
and I thought yeah, like a stone
or a professional wrestler whose ring name says what he does
Big Boss Man, Spanky, Virgil the Kentucky Butcher
The heater had been on high all night heating
My mascara masked my eyes like a racoon


At the Santa Cruz Public Storage
sharing a too-hard persimmon
I hate what we’ve gone through
but I love that we’ve gone through it

But where was all the wildlife?
Why is the werewolf shirtless all the time?
When danger takes you by the ankles
you slip out of your socks like aha

Chelsea Harlan holds a BA from Bennington College and an MFA in Poetry from Brooklyn College, where she was a Truman Capote Fellow. Her poems are forthcoming or have appeared in Sixth FinchHobartSouthwest ReviewThe Greensboro Poetry ReviewAmerican Poetry Review, and The Southern Poetry Anthology. She is the co-author of the chapbook Mummy (Montez Press, 2019), and the recipient of the 2019-2020 Mikrokosmos Poetry Prize. She lives in Brooklyn.