Mercury in Retrograde



Even our stuffed penguin, Dave, is reporting emotional issues

on account of being an outsider and an innovator


I get it, I just don’t understand him

I get the names of his friends mixed up


I could never be as involved in his inner life

as I am my own


he’s off studying world history, bird psychology

self-defense


talks of new codes, manifestos

birds with guns, taking over.


Like a tired, spiraling mom

I’m ready to let him do anything


to keep productive

you know of idle flippers


how they twist arms

maybe fistfuls of hair.


Do you ever look at the greying flesh

on this totem son of ours


the strings that hang from his right foot

the fading Bahamian resort emblem


tramp stamped on his back

as if penguins can come from the Carribean


as if one as sophisticated as Dave would have a tattoo.

Can this only mean he lived a life of suffering


sweltering miserable degraded

hanging onto diminishing hope


for polar vertices

these cold Chicago winters


parents who love him

enough to speak through him


when he has no voice

and they no other body


or is he just an empty vessel


straight from the factory floor




An image of Selena Cotte, a dark-haired person with glasses smiling directly into the camera.

Selena Cotte is a poet, journalist & shapeshifter living in Chicago by way of Orlando. Her poems are published or forthcoming in journals such as Peach Mag, HAD, Sad Girl Review, 3 Moon Magazine & others. She can be found online @selenacotte, wherever you think that may work.


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