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2 poems
Lucy Wainger

Lucy Wainger grew up in New York City. Her forthcoming chapbook, In Life There Are Many Things (Black Lawrence Press, 2023), won the Black River Chapbook Competition. She's currently an MFA candidate in poetry at UMass Amherst, where she teaches composition and creative writing.

Wanting to Live

The best nights of my small life happened

by accident. We drank beer, went nowhere

and I had never been so loved by boys before.

Never since. Going to college taught me


I am not ambitious.

Things rarely go where I mean to throw them.

The great project of my life, for instance, was

to kill myself; look how that turned out.


A failure, slick and slow. In the meantime, leaves

became discarded wrappers, boys I loved

applied to college, I learned things

I now forget. How little you can carry on your back.


I didn’t mean to want to live, those school nights

we had nowhere to go except not home, but

I couldn’t help it. I loved those boys. Liked living

in the stain where I’d spilled.


The Others



The pool drinks them

and I am unswerving,

I keep to tile edges.

I’ve been


hateful lately.

They are chlorinated.

They are a party

with pale legs

I want to tear open.




I keep to the edges of things.

I think I am something

primordial; I ooze.

My bathing suit


bunches and stinks, the campus

grows thick with goose shit.

They are one big block

of stinking yellow money.

I am a block, a block.




The pool drinks them

with its greedy tile mouth.

Beauty is a story

for little kids


and I am big.

No one should have to

be born. The hallway tightens

around them, either I can look

or look away.





We change out of our bathing suits.

I watch their pale legs and fingernails.

They are sheets of blank paper

I want to soak with ink.


I towel my hair, my clattering

limbs, the evil places

where my body folds. I watch

the windows shudder and warp

and the hallway tighten, tighten

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