Circumlocutions by Chloe Rose

Chloe Rose is fat, queer, non-binary person of color living with disabilities and her cat Franz in Tacoma, WA. They have been published by the Atticus Review, Enclave’s #finalpoem project, and have been a featured writer in Aspasiology (March 2017). They enjoy writing poetry, essay, and fiction, as well as tweeting about conlangs, antifa, witchcraft, and such as. Brown brown brown brown brown brown brown. @chloeandsuchas #yerbamalanuncamuere #spacewitch




A diadem describes
the cycles of the moon
as ) waxing
as O full
as ( waning
but where is
the dark sister in the diadem
the sigh of the portion of those nights
where certain stars
are always


Love, you know, sometimes fits like a bruise

tightly in the skin
knit from the soft parts

a turgid tremble
of blood-soaked dermis

and even if it fades, the bruise,
the skin remembers

that’s what happened to the love
I gave you: it surrounded me, a dead


I whispered your names
into a jar full of ashes

tossing the remnants of pot,
sage, and sandalwood

into the air, saying:

I love you &



some days of the month
the moon is gone, dark, a dead

it goes like clockwork

I have an app on my phone
that tells me where we are
in the phases
in the tropical zodiac

and there it is, each month, three days
of black: a face,

I made a vow with myself
on the dark days
to try and remember
the bright moonpan of sky
awaiting me
in so many days: a face
I know too well,
a face that turns away
turning deeply
into the self.


vows you’d need to say to me
if you wanted to be near me again:

I will not eat cakes and wine in the dark without my sister
I will not vend out my sister’s minerals
I will not tempt the foe in the disease within my sister
I will not defeat my sister

I will not daydream of a land wherein my sister cannot find purchase
I will not use my power to purchase another sister
I will not make merry of my sister’s misfortune
I will not leave her to be alone as I was once alone

there’s a burden we share that we do not share
a weight left that could’ve been lifted

so many stories end with bitter hands untied

but you cannot return what you’ve stolen:
this smattering of ribs, say,
or the things we took

out back.


I’ve named a new kith &
given them secret names:

Circe. Circe. Circe. Circe. Circe.

I have found a new pentagram,
no more of the constant catching

up, the races between each
corner with you. My kin, I forget you

forget you to unburden myself
of heartache and slumber

of sleep without rest.

In the night, I felt myself
slipping into another dimension

a weightless, breathless fall
of soul in sleep. I woke

the next day having slept
the end of one epoch

looking brightly at an epoch’s

I have left you on the inside parts
where you’ve left your suture marks:

dark sister, my


How many oceans are in you
as you wade through a thick despair?

A salt lick scratches
across my cheek, wet

lilted at sounds coming from
this original series

or that streaming audio. It wraps
you up in black and cold

and spits you out, a warm jelly
baby whose spasmatic heart

wooshes in the waters of so many
memories long forgotten.

A mountain gains its fractal edges
from the geometry of seasons

obeying their laws of tilt, jet streams,
rain shadows, and ice deserts.

There’s a glacier in your body, a Moulin
full of something trying to get out.

What is it about a high note?
The song becomes something more

when all you have is a spent cup of coffee
and the false sugar dressed in paper.

For an Ancestor from Poland

There’s one of me inside of me who came from two who went up into the air as dark black stars
There’s one of me inside of me written in the ink of Weimar, in a river called so many desires
There’s one of me inside of me whose blood carries the haphazard epigenetic memo: hermaphrodite
There’s one of me inside of me whose body knows the weight of miles from pole to pole

There’s one of me inside of me begotten of four mothers, each womb enrobing the womb before it: a matryoshka
There’s one of me inside of me whose tasted four or five tongues in a day from coal to bread
There’s one of me inside of me who never left the plains, the steepes, the hills of my mothers
There’s one of me inside of me made fat on the milk of so many goats, a queen and matriarch

There’s one of me inside of me who didn’t go into the oven
There’s one of me inside of me who didn’t percolate with the bodies of other soldiers in the salty neck
There’s one of me inside of me who didn’t dance with a debyk before a bonfire
There’s one of me inside of me who didn’t fade into the night like so many others inside of me

There’s one of me inside of me who is your brother, your mother, your grandmother, and Eve
There’s one of me inside of me that’s part of your own that’s not a part of your own
There’s one of me inside of me whose telomeres are summoning their dark entropy
There’s one of me inside of me that was never there at all

Visitor I

a fly flew in and refused to die
granting its scissory clips of bakelite wings
on the ear, the palm, the navel—
an insect’s blessing: I taste you,
I delight in your putrefaction,
in every smell that leaves you
and settles into the headboard.

I lived in my room, those four days
it spent finding the window
it flew in through. I left my bed
only to use the bathroom, only to
fetch a bowl of easily prepared food:
eggs, boiled; sandwich of dried turkey.
It touched the food, it touched my face,

it touched every corner, every syllable
of space. I woke the fifth morning,
grown accustomed to its meander,
waiting to see the glint of its compound eye.

I forgot my hunger for touch those days,
kissed by proboscis, edged by cellophane,
giving up my habitus of tear-making. See
the fly, racing its small life to find its match,

to find a shit pile and call it home.

Visitor II

the room at certain angels folds and bends
like psilocybin, a ripple in that god-awful
popcorned ceiling, dusty with a spider’s makings
mixed with the sluff of my person. the lights
are two different colors, the room a dance
of two suns where in bed I am a star.
the window is open, the screen still hanging
loose from summer, then: a moth.

she is gray, wrinkled, dappled in a soft fur,
her antennae rising out in jagged waves, small
and nimble flyer. steady, she waits, ceasing
never to be still; her wings hushed from her
foreflutter that gathered her to the hills and valleys
in the ceiling where she waits, steady. my eyes
fall into her body as I lay, unblinking, staring
into her, and I am struck in the gut:

I am not alone. I am observed. there is the subtle
print of a gray pattern, lines with circles: a pattern
for fall-winter. she hangs there, silent, reversed
to the sky with the world beneath her back. a whisper
says to defy gravity. a whisper says to say hello
grandmother. a whisper speaks in tones, rhythms
unknown to ears like mine, her voice a static
made of pheromones, her body a leaf near decay.

I trade in my yesterdays with her blanket of wings,
waiting for her to make any move, any small release.

My eyes retreat into me and I awaken into a dream.
A shaft fall and morning greets each swollen oculus,

then: a moth, gone.


          for K.B.H.

there is a note I cannot sing, sticks in my larynx
under a latex sheath, a lung that fights itself
for enough air as it rings noise-dark: an empty box
filled to the brim with words that fail themselves,
with gifts unsent, with footfalls in a quiet room,
with ashtrays, with opiates: white-songs, a note
in the midst of a silence waiting, hoping to eject
the mad, turgid water filling my chest, my navel,
my hair, filling all of it, the whole soul-steed: lost,
I keen it out into the air, all of my small words,
the things I forgot were beautiful about her,
the song she’d been teaching me since birth:
daughter-forest cloaked in a blanket of snow,
sister-cloud emptied of its vapor, its pressure,
mother-organ shouting out a variable we’ll call
out into the night, call it xx or xy, call it loquacious,
call it precious, oracle, call it the death that it was,
that you’re sold a lie: life could be painless you know
if only the song didn’t keep singing, living and dying

apart, together, and alone.