Do you have a plan? the hotline asked.

Is that how it works? I imagine

Virginia’s matted mind cross-thread 

with equations and buoyancy.

Sylvia testing the dials on a live chicken.

I’ve only focused on their second-most famous act: 

their work.

They should have called the hotline.

They could have started a new life pouring coffee:

bubblegum hair dye, a lace tattoo 

peaking out beneath the apron,

the horned voices, thick as ink, 

dissolving in the tune

It was all yellow.


That could be my life.

I don’t have to let failure get to me.

It’s just writing, for Chrissakes.

It’s just excavation, a catch-and-release

of primal whispers I scribble out

in the windstorm of income and outcome,

of mortality as linear as growing wrinkles.

It’s just the dissertation of my breast

sent up like a hospital prayer into the 

cosmic graveyard; the stars we keep forgetting

have already died, because they’re all yellow.


Do you know where I want to be buried

I’d asked my professor, 

pulling the sheet up to our shoulders.

My lit textbook

He was quiet. 

Like a trash bag filled with rejection letters.

Like my therapist 

when I asked how much time is acceptable 

to spend working on a funeral plot.

The oven clicks hungrily by the kitchen window

where the icy cobalt river churns

behind parked Chryslers.

My Norton Anthology gathers dust 

around the rectangle where my phone sits.

The hotline won’t tell you this,

but please…

consider giving up on your dreams.

It’s as easy as abortion.

Half of you still gets to live.

Lay on the altar of survival

as the scalpel becomes as much a part of you

as the clung tubes fighting for dominance,

the withered limbs slipping off like wet seeds,

a plucked-out heart that isn’t yours.

It’s not a crime to save the host

or say it was a hard decision.

Everyone deserves a plan b.

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