gray pile of stones near trees

Poetry No. 70 – Haylee Millikan

These are games one must first answer

by Haylee Millikan

One step may not excruciate but I 
am boulder-heaving with arthritic knees. 

Numb hands still push—palms needling pustuled 
stone curve. Sure, he was tricky, but Sisyphus 

must’ve been a pussy: far worse punishments 
than monotony, more intense tortures 

than rolling alone. I would’ve made him 
a sex worker with a gag-reflex-but-swal-

low-anyways mentality. Give me 
any power and watch as the round world 

becomes a ball. Unceremonious 
absurdity, opposing truths— if I 

carry weaponry it is library card 
and butterfly knife. I maim to relieve. 

Who cares whether we exist, as long as 
I can sense the pin my neurologist 

drags over my shins; there’s some kind of truth 
in this prick. It’s involuntarily 

intimate. I spit blue paint on magpies 
and hold up mirror: of course I want to 

see myself in them seeing themselves. 
I struggle remembering my first glimpse 

of this body, every undressing 
becomes déjà vu; home is nowhere sav-

ing this skin. Preening is futile if 
it’s not your reflection. 

Haylee Millikan is a poet originally from Spokane. Haylee’s work focuses on themes of intimacy, disability, self, & the elusive concept of home, and is featured or forthcoming in Sunspot Lit, Equinox, Litro, Beyond Words, Susie Magazine, Textploit, pioneertown., and others. They currently reside in Long Beach with their two Flatbush rescue cats.

Photo by Fabian Reitmeier on

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