July Westhale

A thing that is bigger than 140 characters

If I get caught taking mood stabilizers
they might think they’ve won.

The thing about the mouse
and the cookie, etc. What is it

to walk untethered? I’m not
trying to be insolent, or strange

in speech or act like I know
what it is to be a cask, or a rind.

I eat peel with the best of them.
I enjoy the bitter, I have a profound

experience of bitterness. The world
is a rock of a place—it jetties.

It cuts soft skin. It is made
of stubbornness, but stone is a slow burn.

An example: the internet is no net
at all, but rather a fun home, a roadside

attraction, another sighting of Bigfoot.
Who but he could make such a large print?

I take the thing that is like chalk in my mouth.
I have for years—Dimmed lights, low

volume, long drives, standing ovations.
This is what it’s like: sentence small, eternal, hushed.

July Westhale

July Westhale is the author of Trailer Trash (winner of the 2016 Kore Press Book Award), The Cavalcade, and Occasionally Accurate Science. Her most recent poetry can be found in The National Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, CALYX, Tupelo Quarterly, RHINO, Lunch Ticket, and Quarterly West. Her essays have been nominated for Best American Essays, as well as the Pushcart prize. She moonlights as a journalist at The Establishment, and has appeared in The Huffington Post. www.julywesthale.com