“Gary Gulman, You Are Giving Up” & “I Will Live and Die in This Walgreens” by Eve Kenneally

Black and white illustration of a hand reaching for a knife

Gary Gulman, You Are Giving Up

Look, there are only two reasons
to keep a knife by your bed. No – look,
there are only two reasons to sleep
with a knife by your bed. In your bed. The joke
is that you can’t get out of bed. The joke is this:
your toenails are painted pink, and you want to kill yourself!
You try not to kill yourself, so you make a quesadilla! And this –
the sickness, the joke, you, the sickness – is something
you’re told you can haul your way out of. You can’t climb
anything. You can’t even draw
a full breath. Once you were gifted a New!
Doll-Sized Version™ of yourself
        and you loved her to death. You had to.

I Will Live and Die in This Walgreens

I think we can all agree I’m too lively
        for this type of timekeeping, for whatever
circles I’ve rusted myself into, being told
        we have no record of you in our system –
having to prove myself here when already,
        I show so many teeth! When already,
I make so many gestures! We have no record
        of that in our system – the doctor who cocked
her eyebrow, asked Is there any reason
        to be sad? mimed being sick for sickness,
while I sat steeped in all that sound –
        yesterday, the day before –
date of birth? A rat flattened on a sewer cap,
        tail intact, refrigerator full of poker chips. I meant
to take a picture but I missed, or couldn’t be bothered –
        by now, it might surprise you to learn I once crested
a cliff in Utah, rose to see the sun swim above it, pulled
        off to smoke cigarettes in the desert’s open swallow,
shielded Mica from the reach of dead dogs off the pavement –
        the point being, I know elements,
I am elemental – I have thought
        about the healing – I have filled and filled again –

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Eve Kenneally is a New York-based writer, etc. She has an MFA from the University of Montana and chapbooks out with Dancing Girl Press and Ghost City Press. Her poems have appeared in Salt Hill, Whiskey Island, Yemassee, and elsewhere.

Tiffany Mallery is an illustrator currently based out of Boston. She’s done work for editorial clients including NPR, Thrillist, &  Zora to name a few, and has dipped her toes in the realm of comics and self-publishing, printing zines and comics about crushes, tennis, being lost in space, and whatever else her little heart desires. When not making art, she can be found reading manga, thinking about the infinite and fearsome wonder of space, and/or working at her day job. Her work and contact info can be found at www.tiffanyillustrating.com or @notiffanyno on Instagram.

This month’s special issue, “EVERY GHOST STORY IS A LOVE STORY,” was guest edited by Melissa Lozada-Oliva. Melissa is the author of peluda (Button Poetry 2017) and Dreaming of You (Astra House, October 2021). Her work has been featured in the Yale Review, Harper’s Bazaar, Vulture, and BBC Mundo. She cohosts a podcast called Say More with Olivia Gatwood. She holds an MFA from NYU and lives in New York City. @ellomelissa.