Zoë Fay-Stindt


            I want to forget again about having a body. My friend cries in the HEB parking lot. My friend teaches the 19-year-old on the phone with the insurance company what an IUD is. IUV? he asks. My body is a cold and rumbling fault line. Everyone with uteruses, come take a walk with me—pelicans gathering on the Mississippi’s horizon like white tumors. The stink from all this rot, all these old lives turning over. After the news, within the news, I sleep alone in an unlockable Airbnb in the middle of a Wisconsin wood. No one comes for me. No one gets me pregnant. I hear the wolves—too far south this year—making a plan. I was given no logistics. I was given a body, sort of. I was set loose in a world with many hands, many pens, many locking devices in all the wrong places. Poem, you are getting unmanageable. In the night, when I am near-bursting and finally gather my fear up enough to let my bladder free, I brave the night and its toothiest demands. I huff and howl, stomp on the porch planks, let my body be known. I make a big show. I make a loud mess of this living. I make myself unmissable, demanding. Nobody runs away.

Zoë Fay-Stindt is a queer, bicontinental poet with roots in both the French and American south. Their work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, featured or forthcoming in places such as Southern Humanities, Ninth Letter, and Poet Lore, and gathered into a chapbook, Bird Body, winner of Cordella Press’ inaugural Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize. She lives in Ames, Iowa, where she is an MFA candidate at Iowa State University, poetry editor for the environmental journal, Flyway, and community farm volunteer.