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Distance is there whether we breathe air
states apart, or cheek to cheek. You hug me,
Your fingers wrapped together about my waist,
about once a year,
but sometimes I don’t feel their weight.

Distance becomes the 2AM image
of the shadows of relentless rain
reflecting on the wall,
the lack of drops entwining.

I think it is the split second silence,
prior to when you hang up
the cellphone, when you uncling
to the innate desire to whisper
“I love you, too.”

Let it pass. Turning off my cell phone now.
I allow it to sleep.

Distance might be the space between
your forehead wrinkles, but it feels more
like the empty space between your name
and the automated text
in the middle of the birthday greeting card.

What is the difference between distance
and dissociate?

I dissociate when I attempt
to recall that last time we laughed
in sync, in the humidity of the car
as The Rolling Stones played on the radio,
Your resounding, neck-back, belly laugh.
I’d like to hear it more often.

Distance creeps and crawls across
my keyboard. I click the down arrow
of the obituary. I long to meet those who
left such genuine commentary.
“We ate cheeseburgers every Tuesday together.”

It’s been years.
The dilapidated headstone situated now
inches from where it originally was placed.
Distance, you are the image of the shadows

of relentless rain on the wall I face.
I wish I could hold her one more time.

New York City, 2023



a group chat concocted by a Barbie Doll with sun-bitten tanned legs.

how her fingers type so hell-bent, i do not know or fathom.
ten of us huddled as group ‘e’ in front of the brick and beer house--
as the door pops open, sound of a Coca-Cola red liter bubbling.
there sit one hundred faces, white, pale, blonde, blue-eyed,
push-up bras, caked-on makeup, gossiped tit-pink lips,
high-pitched plate voices, extended eyelashes, no other ethnicities,
green plastic money, white-pillared homes, country club summers,
judgmental pierce-rich eyes like dollar signs. i hear a sound, more like
a shrilling shriek. “join us, join us, you won’t regret being with the best.”
the best?
i sigh, comparing my thighs to theirs.
my only friend to my left whispers “this is the one i want.”
Another girl recommends, “don’t take their snacks.”
there will be final tests like, do your sweet thighs jiggle when you sit on a
running washing machine? are you under 140 pounds?
can you eat five hot dogs and throw them up within 30 seconds?
don’t lie to us.
crawling into the house as desperate male dogs starving for female attention,
sniffing out the most prominent female to serve.
smiling, teeth flashing, cameras flashing, watching us.
every conversation, awkward pause,
recorded and reviewed in the group meeting.
our sweet faces plastered
on the plastic projector screen.
a click-click, clap-clap.
in the evening, dusk, stars biting and cicadas singing,
my only friend texts me. “they blacklisted me.”

“why?” i ask.
& she has no clue. in the middle of the courtyard of the university,
so intellectual, so historical, we make a vow to each other,
no sororities. no houses. no dues for our parents to pay.
we will meet here once a week, at dusk.
we will read
southern poetry.

New York City, 2020


Your family Oak tree blindly gets the better of you
You paint a family of owls with dilated eyes
hanging from breaking branches
and list their solemn diseases
Grandpa: cancer, Grandpa: cancer, Uncle: cancer, Aunt: cancer,
Types: Lymphoma. Non-Hodgkins. Leukemia. Stomach. Breast. Prostate. Skin.
The positive side is no heart disease
You have “good” hearts, regular beats—
You think it’s your shared sense of humor for movies like Happy Gilmore and Mrs. Doubtfire
With all this cancer in mind
no one in the family tells you to get screened by the local Owl Doctor
I wonder why. Maybe they don’t want you to know when it’s that time.
The pre-knowing…
(like floating in thick, green JELLO)
that turns into rabbit-fright acceptance I’ve seen with my own eyes.
Sometimes I think of cancer like a butterfly,
made up of colorful pieces & they grow from miniscule to large,
forming a creature. Then when it’s touched it
dies and can’t fly anymore—but humans still study its wings.
I choose a doctor with a Polish name
Check the reviews- 4.91 stars
You think about his days at work
Sprinting from rare cancer patient A
To common cancer patient B
Maybe you’ll make his day a bit better
He senses you’re floating and flying in the pre-knowing,
hanging upside down from a tree.

New York City, 2020


Palmer is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and an incoming MFA and MA student. She has worked as a paralegal since 2018. She has written for Refresh Magazine, The Online Journal for Person-Centered Dermatology, Sea Maven Magazine,  Calm Down Magazine, Selcouth Station and the Remington Review.

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