2 Poems by Demree McGhee

Illustration by Nia Chavez; lips play a trumpet filled with flowers.


She turns her nose up at the flowers I bring home
to put in one of the band of jars beneath the sink.
Sticky with lonely, clinking, shifting. We are not
haunted, it’s the glass settling underneath the leaky
tap, composing the bones of the apartment just as
much as stucco and faux tile. She collects them based
on how they’ll look drained and perched on the top shelf,
square chested vodka, low and round tequila, squat
grape jam jars. She won’t put something with the
potential for roots in her space, she's been there before.
Knows all about yearning for pastel growth from a garden
that isn't hers. They’ll gather at the bottom, sprout up
through the head, wrap back around her neck. Can’t cut
through this with garden sheers. She’ll have to call a guy,
and once that happens, she’ll owe him in some way,
maybe in money, maybe in body, maybe in space.

Me In High School, Trying to Convince Myself to Think Boys Are Sexy

Listen to what the girls say,
how they want to trace the peaks of their throats,
travel down flat expanses of chest. Maybe
you can force yourself to stare into the eye of a storm
and find that hot. Or maybe it’s violence,
reckless abandon of blood across knuckles,
but you’ve scraped up your knees and thighs and find
the tightness there far more erotic.

Think: the plain may rumble,
but theres nothing around to crash on top of you.
Think: so many flowers are poisonous, but you’d gladly play roulette with
the trumpet of honeysuckle at your lips.
Think: your mother loves it when black and brown boys talk to you
and maybe if you squint hard enough
you can make something of that.

Demree McGhee is an English student in San Diego currently searching for the perfect green sundress. She has work featured or forthcoming in Lunch Ticket, Lucky Jefferson, Free State Review, Sweet Tree Review, and elsewhere. You can read more of her work or send in sundress leads at demreemcghee.com.

Nia Chavez is an Illustrator + Designer from Bedstuy. She is a Pratt graduate with a BFA in Communications Design. Nia loves befriending cats, all seven 90 Day Fiancé spinoffs, grouping her Spotify playlists by year and mood, AND when you check out her Instagram and her website.