top of page

C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

“Grad School, and other Manic Episodes”; “Framework”; “you can swim underwater, just don’t..."

By: Kelsey Smoot

“Grad School, and other Manic Episodes”

3 a m the waking or witching hours at least four days have passed  since i’ve pulled the curtains open let the sun touch my skin am i here again?

i feed my body with the dark crunch stars with brittle teeth harpoon the moon and swing a feral-child-space-explorer tiresome like an earworm 

outstretched syncopations undressing the twilight breaking glass bottles painting the walls with them punch a skylight in my ceiling 

find no healing; my friends lied        

dial your phone number  hang up on the second ring circle random letters in the paper collapse on dirty socks


There are ghosts living in your eyes

I see them floating there

tiny mariners in milky fishbowls

caressing the backs of your irises

sneaking out for the occasional romp

I tie a small string into a lasso

send it sailing through the air

try to catch one mid-flight

the loop lands on an eyelash

You swat me like a gnat

Sleeping with your head in my lap

my fingers comb your curls

I whisper love songs in your ears

try to exorcise the ghosts

they claw and nip at my nails and lips

Awakened, you are frightened

I bring my forehead to yours

touch our nose tips

stare directly into the past

offer them my own eyes as sacrifice

But as I look closely

study the swirling spirits

they share sweet smiles and giggles

I realize that you are not haunted

You are a home for angels

“you can swim underwater, just don’t breathe in”

fluidity has come to encompass

my mainstay sadness

my only optimism

you, like me, are sea

whether spraying or sucking

sinking, even in shallow streams

treading tirelessly

or floating with resignation

hot springs comprised of teardrops

the summertime pitcher of sweet tea

the ease with which

you sweat me out

swallowing lake norman

hot chocolate before bed

spittle well spent on heated exchanges

bleeding out the last of it

i smear the remnants of swamp water

on the dew-kissed grass

piss all over your good name

start swimming


Kelsey L. Smoot (They/Them/Theirs) is a full-time PhD student in the interdisciplinary social sciences and humanities. They are also a poet, advocate, and frequent writer of critical analysis.


bottom of page