Lorrie Ness


It’s not the threat of fan blades
that stops the ceiling from reaching down,
but your panting in the dark that props these walls open.
Drawing in, then out—determined to find a way to breathe
with just one of the lungs in your chest.

You’re close to madness
knowing there’s a part of you that can’t be uncoupled—
every pink lobe blooming from a single stem
that funnels the air inside.

You tell me about the jungle,
how the night was made to perspire—
how you’re still winded from trying to outrun its stagnant air.
Laying with my leg draped across your knees,
I remind you

of the strangler fig—
how its body was a hollow cylinder
large enough for you to stand inside. How its body
still held the shape of its host tree, long after it rotted away.

Lorrie Ness is a poet working in Virginia. Her work can be found at Palette Poetry, THRUSH Poetry Journal, Typishly and various other journals. She was nominated for a Puschart Prize in 2021 by Sky Island Journal. Her chapbook Anatomy of a Wound is published by Flowstone Press.