Love in Graduate School

Love in Graduate School Cassandra Phillips-Sears
Through texts they found they deserve: to love, and to love you. Lightnings figure on the pages of close type, close on your fingertips. “Close,” they moan. Their heart’s self-bound to you. Their layers unfold under a touch of words. It shakes you to your tight- wound-core. Move closer to your scholar's mistress. The stuff at her core cannot hurt you: you have thumbed her through enough to know her, and vellum’s always more patient for your touch. Tighten your plates round you: diagrams writ in lightnings, errata of stars' orbits, an armor in twelve-point type. Layers, pages, God protect you. She is not warm but she is safe. Move closer. Read one close, keep the other closer, overfill your shelves, core out your selves and lie that surely texts enough are printed to be fill. Put on layers of clothes: don’t touch. Don’t talk about it. Deny it, through more words. Find those they’ll believe. Hide : in texts :: like : a fox :: from : the lightnings in yourself. Every time you try to speak you tighten your defenses within fences. The air hangs tight tonight, immovable, still, close, as you. Green sky cut by lightnings, sudden waters. Laughter from your core, The rooms we got to laugh in echo through. We make synecdoche--Barthes, layers of books shelved next to each other. Rubbing familiar foxed edges. The smell of layers on layers of honeysuckle through the square window. Tighten your mouth around my fingers. Get the pen, melt me through when you move closer to my shivering body’s core and write on me, felt-tipped tickling lightnings. It is winter, now, and I am far from you. Yellow lights flicker in the pure cold; the layers of pines drip from their branches. At my core there is still somewhere an autumn for foxes, still somewhere a sometime girl tight- wrapped in cloth and ribbon, hunting poems down the close and up the slopes of words, heart-shot text-shot through. This text’s core is shot with lightnings, flickering through the patient layers of a scholar’s tight-bound type. Read closer.


Cassandra Phillips-Sears’ short fiction and poetry have appeared in The Moment of Change anthology, Goblin Fruit, Scheherezade’s Bequest, Jabberwocky 2, Not One of Us, Place/Time, Sirenia Digest, and in the collection A Field Guide to Surreal Botany by Two Cranes Press. When they are not gardening, coding, cooking, gaming, or reading, they enjoy training their cat. Their website is They currently live near Boston, Massachusetts.

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