Florencia Varela


I agree it’s hard to make a life here.
The song doesn’t live
past seven folds, stays gaslit.
Someone gives the drunks
in the park a harmonica;
imagine that spell. Of all songs,
to land on caroling. Of all songs,
its winter may soon kill me.
One more wrong key,
and my neighbor will be hanging
out the window again,
all red screams. Possessed, I move
every piece of furniture in the apartment
until my pacing changes its shape,
spinning, bewildered even—
a Scheherazade in ruins.
I was evolving, I was taking it personally.


The sun hits
my roof first,
then another roof
across town, even higher,
I’ve been there too.

And it wasn’t too different
how the world
looked at night,
without me in it,
(it is a small place
to begin with,
a jar filled mostly
with blue azaleas).
It still wouldn’t say where
the dog buried the bone.


Let me undo the braiding.

Though clung to the smaller phases
of the moon—I’ll have to reach beyond
you, past the flinch & riddle.

The string will unwrap fully,
place one end in your hands
and tie the other to a piece of sandstone
at the bottom of an ocean you named.

—Hasn’t this gone on for too long?

Makeshift glow, steel-lined.
Let me loosen each shore, now
past the sunken.

Wind, stray. There is no more straw
to feed the hearth with.

If the waters won’t hold you
chase the strange out—
fussed tinsel,
the croon of tulips splitting open—
take a knife to it.

Florencia Varela‘s poems have appeared in publications such as Western Humanities Review, Drunken Boat, Diagram, The Destroyer, Phantom Limb, Gulf Coast, and Washington Square Journal. She completed her MFA in poetry at Columbia University. Her chapbook, Outside of Sleep, was published in 2012 by Dancing Girl Press. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn.

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