The Narcissist Hears What You’re Trying to Do There


Grabs your argument in a certain hand, clenches

your words in a fist,



them back at you before you’ve decided

what you were even trying

to say. Perhaps


there wasn’t a manipulative germ

or any exhumed dirty word,



what he can hear and see

is the extent of it,



but he’s perspicacious with a straight spine,

drawn to full height,



slashing, that dripping dagger

to remind

every syllable matters


in the way

it could possibly relate

to him. Admit


he wasn’t part of the intended audience,

meandering sentence

still unspooling from your lips?



Unforgiveable sin.

He has to stop you before you can begin.

Swing Song


Squeak creak squeal

squeak creak squeal: across the street,

a couple in their twenties


pumps long legs into glassy sky, bodies

flung nearly perpendicular

to the top of the bar, so high. Individual


horizons. Now she knows those sounds

last week at sundown

did not mean she was going to break



How silly to think the weight

of forty-seven years means anything


to a swing

ready to squeak all comers into the clouds

and back to thirteen,


sullen, holding a Walkman

turned up loud, back to seven,

screaming in delight, pushed


so hard she had to hold on

tight. All the way home,

their palms will thrum


with effort while their minds

fly, worries having fallen

from their pockets like pebbles


into sand,

the smell of salty steel

still kissing their hands.


Kasandra Larsen


Kasandra Larsen’s work has appeared in Best New Poets, Hawai’i Pacific Review, Into the Void Magazine, Stoneboat Literary Journal, Two Hawks Quarterly, and others. Her manuscript CONSTRUCTION was a finalist for the 2016 Four Way Books Intro Prize in Poetry; her chapbook STELLAR TELEGRAM won the 2009 Sheltering Pines Press Chapbook Award. She is a two-time Pushcart nominee.



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