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[Poetry] Two Poems by Ian Powell-Palm


It’s not the way we danced around your grandparent’s grave,

Nor how your body was indistinguishable from smoke when you stood still enough.

It wasn’t how we threw a stick at a grave and then took its name

For the next ten years, twenty years, call me James now,

call it eternity, when It all keeps coming back

To your jaw, clenched, and willing to accept me in it. When we danced long enough

Our body broke into waves of breath, washing over us as we traveled through

The leather couch and into our mother’s wombs, no longer wishing to raze our ways out

But accepting of the white heat which now surrounded us. Slowly, placing a pliers in your


Like a prayer, you pulled the tooth loose. Now, in its place is a pillar of gold which not even

God, can turn to soil. To salt. To whatever was before us in this place, whatever made the

Forests yawn towards open mouths, asked my father to put out the cigarette

And marry the woman, thank you for making us stretch so desperately,

So brutally, towards beauty. Thank you for asking us, to pray.

Stunted Love

A piano and a can of gasoline.

In the blue reaches of his mind,

He quelled the song

Reaving his bone.

As a boy, he was nearly stolen

As a boy, a mother mistook him

For grace, raced for the border

A boy lost in her backseat.

No, he wasn’t taken. The snow simply turned to weeks

When the shock blue policeman

Witnessed his red hair, burning in the winter haze.

Now, he holds a match, just to see the name waiting

On the other end. I watch him, head bowed in some foreign praise. My brother, who’s heart is a mouth unending in its slaughter

Of beauty. He takes the flame, lays blame to the sky.

The stars dying above him


One by one

Ian Powell-Palm is a poet and musician currently splitting his time between Amherst, Massachusetts, and Bozeman, Montana. He is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee and has been published in journals such as Chapter House, Chiron Review, American Poetry Journal, and others. His first chapbook, Highway Fatality, was released in 2022. His work attempts to interrogate familial trauma, sexual identity, and the resurrection of the dead. He is the co-editor and co-founder of the literary journal Rejected Lit Mag. You can find more of his work on Instagram at the username @Ipowellp16.


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