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Dead Skunk Logo: round logo of a white skunk silhouette on a black background with the words “Dead Skunk” in cursive. “Dead” is neon purple and “Skunk” is neon yellow.

Cold sun is strong, this spring tug-of-war where winter clings just to make a fool.

But change plants its roots in little ways to yank back: welcoming the dove to its nesting place,


swelling puddles pushed by the wind, the red of richly awakened mud on floor mats.

I can feel my cells stretching, ripples of greedy digestion along my arms,


and I look to the birch of my youth, how the bark peels horizontally,

so much like skin, papery life between my fingers, coquettish death in translucent layers,


planted like great femurs bursting from the ground with gentle, peeling deterioration.

How their ribbons could be stretched with scissor edges, into beckoning fingers.


How I note all the opposites now: light/dark, thick/thin, textured/delicate.

How commercials were flickering villains in the black, sticking evening,


speckled with old star beauty, the day’s brilliant hues translated through heavy clouds

I longed to hang my arm inside to see if I would be soaked through


or swallowed. How, now, the dampness is deeper,

and I search for tornado sighs in every summer storm


and every morning I can hear the strangled whistles of my old lives,

the whispers of future fables growing so, so faint.

STRANGLED WHISTLES
OF MY OLD LIVES

STRANGLED WHISTLES
OF MY OLD LIVES

Loren Walker

Author Bio: Originally from Ontario, Canada, Loren Walker has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize and was chosen as a finalist for the Harbor Review Editor’s Prize. Her poems have appeared in Great Lakes Review, Chaotic Merge Magazine, the West Texas Literary Review, and other publications. Her micro-chapbook neverheart was published by Dancing Girl Press in 2021. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island.


"Favorite 'pop' - the Cheerwine cherry soda I had in North Carolina!"

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Dead Skunk Logo: round logo of a white skunk silhouette on a black background with the words “Dead Skunk” in cursive. “Dead” is neon purple and “Skunk” is neon yellow.

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