by Naomi Buck Palagi


when nothing is strong enough for you. when everything you touch breaks. when they stare at you and you have no fear. when the noise slurs around you and all that is clear is a rock, somewhere in the vicinity of your heart, or maybe somewhere between your heart and the top of your skull, a rock polished by wind, water, time. polished, irregular.

you come out swinging at dawn. ready. walking down the sidewalk, past sleeping cabs and dog-joggers, past warehouses. patched-up tent pitched under a tree down by the water, early morning man sitting on his crate surveying land that will never be his, that he could lose in a moment and no sky left, no river.

you come out swinging, cross the bridge. cross the bridge. kayak rentals quiet, a barge chugging its way through muddy water, a man in a safety vest walking backwards on it, against the current. men everywhere. none of them strong enough, all of them breakable. and women, no women at all, only you, and you are your own. cross the bridge.


man coming. you come out swinging, morning, you say and he slowly hiss-slithers phaaat pusssy as he passes.

you have no fear, the rock in your chest leaps and you pirouette in the air, at the apex of the bridge, your leg extended and the pussy man is moved, knocked down, down into the river.

you continue over the bridge. he continues over the bridge.

nothing is strong enough for you. everything you touch breaks. your heart is polished.


Naomi Buck Palagi has a book of poems published with BlazeVox Books, Stone, and chapbooks with Dancing Girl Press and Dusie Kollectiv. She also has work in journals such as Spoon River Review, Eleven Eleven, Otoliths, and more. She currently resides in Sewanee, TN and more of her work can be found at

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October 2018

© 2020 by The Esthetic Apostle