Emily Nason
I can't buy food without some of it arriving rotten.
Take the delicata squash sold by my farmer's market guy:

one tiny opalescent inchworm victorious and smug and opulent
in my ruin. Fuck you, I say and open the garbage can. Worms

make me violently sad. When we dissected one in sixth grade,
the amount of pins we had to use to splay it open --- nauseating.

Now the dog licks her lips when she sees them on the sidewalk
post-heavy rain. It's like yawning; I mirror her. So there's no cure

for my brain, apparently. But I still start each morning
with affirmations for the dog. _You are beautiful. You are smart._

_You are safe in this house, in this world, in this body, with me._
Once a man told me the same. He lit himself on fire a minute later.

It was beautiful. He told me we could have fun together and handed me
the lighter. Those flames: they just keep getting nearer and nearer and nearer.

Emily Nason is from Columbia, South Carolina, and holds an MFA from the University of Virginia. Her poetry has appeared in the Kenyon Review, Georgia Review, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere.