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Kim Malinowski


Pretend we are strangers sharing patchwork blankets on a frozen field. That we aren’t staring at each other’s irises and counting freckles, your wild mane combed by my hand—the conservatory open and winds smelling of frigid freedom and the marvels of darkness where only red lights are allowed. Pretend our lips don’t meet—that you don’t cry out as the first comet streaks. Pretend that awe is for me. Let me capture that shriek of wonder—the darkness, Orion making his trip, and the deep freeze. Pretend with me.

Ode of Oath

I would protect you from everything
if I could—even the sunbeams
you flinch from—
rays you guide me away from.
I would steal your shade,
my hand across your five o’clock shadow
and hush you.
Steal away the smoldering
or give you cause to.

Let me protect myself—even if you think it’s silly.
That is how you can love me.
I will lullaby you into history,
our hands clasping, damp, flinging.
Neither of us are ordinary—we’ll never be boring, huh?
And as you simper and hedge around questions.
I will learn the language of broad shoulders,
the pulsing near collarbone.
Your tension and release.

May I call you that?
Even if we are not together.
I will make you laugh,
bring down the moon,
dive into my own nervousness.
I will fret. I will knock.
Then bang.
Kick sideways—until you open yourself
and you can courtesy, all ladylike.
And let you cry
into my breasts.
Let you let go
of your terror,
all those unknowns that haunt you—
all the beliefs
about what men are.
I will clutch tight your secrets
as you return upright.
I will dab at your eyelashes.
I will protect you from anything.
Especially yourself.

Kim Malinowski is a lover of words. Her collection Home was published by Kelsay Books and her chapbook Death: A Love Story was published by Flutter Press. Her work has appeared in Amethyst Review, Mookychick, War, Literature, and the Arts, BLUEPEPPER, Enchanted Conversation, and others. She writes because the alternative is unthinkable.


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