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3 poems

by Ava Chapman

Ava Chapman is currently a senior in high school in Los Angeles, is particularly fond of Thursdays and rain, and her favorite authors are Donna Tartt, Rebecca Solnit, and Ocean Vuong. She has attended summer creative writing programs at CalArts, Sewanee, and Kenyon College. She has also received an Honorable Mention from the 2017 Scholastic Writing Awards, was a writer for Zine Club Mag from 2015-16, and has been published in The Shallow Ends. Follow her on Instagram at @avatherose. ​

the train



new deer learn not to cross here


fawn sure don't look like good eating

mangled round the engine

grass daffodils still


(he couldn’t hit the brakes fast enough

was told:

don’t hit the brakes at all

we can’t afford a break)


this don’t look good to eat

but the kids’ll scrape it off anyway


maybe the foxes are hungry

or maybe they're letting ghosts out


we never came to kill

anything beautiful

only sometimes

there’s a side effect to ambition

Night Terrors

so we adjust to darkness

     heartrate up, 190

and my mom on the phone

     “Ava, Ava, Ava”

   it means bird, self fulfilling prophecy

   the fates never said which one

so I unfurl, wings still wet from birth

      to be an eagle or a crow

      eyes opened to open fire

this country as a night terror


I wet the bed, momma

            every night, every century


we have not yet changed his sheets

resurrection conception*


to recur as a face

on the long way back home

past the hollyhock bridge and night blooming flower

to turn somethingnothingsomething

all your particles buzzing out at once

is to deaden into ghostlore


did you know that once inside a chrysallis

a caterpillar completely dissolves

then reconstructs with same memories


our bodies dissolve and we recoil the same

I have tried walking through walls

and I am still hopeful


I have tried talking with ghosts

and I am still hopeful


I have closed my eyes

and thought myself gone

and I’m pretty sure it worked


I have seen 21st century

suffocation on screen, sad music apology

the dance of the night emerging

before us, the last gasp or the kickback


this is a case of disappearance

I am looking for return



*1st line taken from Under the Day by W.S. Merwin

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