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A Spirited Exercise

by Katie Vogel

I tell a story in which your words to me, my love, are not virulent quicksand but a sweeping thread that I may take between my fingertips to feed back down your throat. (I avoid your cracked tooth on the way down, including no threads of my own.) I’m done. (I go to each of your cats, kiss them goodbye, and skip every other step on my way out.) I wander under the roaring BQE and pause at the 24 hour bakery for iced jamaica tea. I’m five minutes early for the N, transfer at 62nd street, notice a frayed end of your thread - its continued protrusion from my tear ducts. (Its jagged edges slice fissures across my cornea.) (I’m gnawing on the plastic straw.) I grab at that thread with ferocity. The strength my friction creates rips open the vessels around its home

in my head. My blood dyes your thread a slick crimson. I tell

a story in which the more I drag, the more fragile this line of yours becomes, my dear, until it crumbles into a vile glob in my hands. My train slips into the station, and, as I bounce through the doors, I tie your line’s end to a pillar. The rest, which had not moments before wound deep into my belly, leaps into the sky. (My belly blood stipples the tracks.) The wind and curious children will unravel it, I know. I dream I am those children. I tell a story about saying no.

I sway with the train’s motion. I tell a story about saying nothing. I push through the emergency exit gate. I tell

a story

in which I caught the yawn in my gut

(before the first thread). I insert

my headphones

and press

shuffle. I tell a story. I trust

the yawn


my gut (again).

Katie Vogel (they/them) is a queer writer raised in North Carolina, living in Brooklyn, NY. They are earning their BFA in Writing through Pratt Institute and are curious about syllabi, screenshots, asides, saints, and storytelling. They digitally occur on instagram @iamkatiebird.

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