new gender binary: sidewalk/songbird by Jess(i)e Marino

in our cities, it is custom
to pick groceries
always with another person
carrying them home is a gift
loved in return with a peach
or a cluster of carrots

their forest is an open mouth
trees for fangs, sky broiling in appetite
citizens wear their leaves smothered
in metal; and soreness, stopping only
to touch each other’s faces, laced in milk

a union is rare, but explosive
coming home to find the windows
once again overridden with vines
kissing closed the bite in your partner’s wrist
where the roots knotted, looking for a mouth


Jess(i)e Marino is a queer, autistic poet who writes and studies at Kenyon College. They are published in The Full Spectrum, Barton College’s Crucible, and Cicada, among others. They enjoy flowers, tea, and other soft things. As always, they are still learning.