The Sky Isn’t the Only Thing That’s Endless

Nearly 1 in 10 women in the United States (9.4%) has been raped by an intimate partner in her lifetime –

The National Domestic Violence Hotline


“Making out with you is like running a marathon,”

you said falling off my body and I giggled,

our stomachs bubbling with Kung Pao Tofu

and soppy fried rice. You had the funniest nose,

like a fishline yanked it down and a boxer trained

against the bridge—Sure, I love you, Jackie-Boy,

Jackie-Jackie Bird, who said I didn’t love poor old Jackie-Bird?

I felt a pang in my gut— the first you’ll give

as my lips felt electrocuted by thought of molding

the phrase. But I did, then you did too and first love

was not the earth swaying its shoulders, nor fireworks

rumbling in my chest. It was a soft laugh followed by

a muffled burp till we fell asleep in adolescent wings.


We grew up together in that year and half as Sundays

melted from those indie folk bands you loved to carving

pipes out of carrots. You saw me snake out of my girly skin

into one of a fresh woman with breasts and soft hips, giggling

less than we used to but refusing to give up on that first

silvery moment. We suffered fits of silence and broken

plates. You got a turtle tattoo from a shadowy friend and I

got attention from other boys. We were like two corner parts

of a 1,000 piece puzzle jamming our bones together until

an edge broke and we could lie together in mangled harmony

with cracked shapes and frayed faces.


Our hourglass choked on sand till we both

saw the final curtain tracing the ground and I tried

to slip under the cloth but you caught my ankle

to disintegrate whatever shape we still held.

There I was with the bitter taste to an untimely

Bildungsroman— bent over, legs numb and throat

stale from whimpers, the same ones you muffled

ten years prior under a hot palm and the betrayer…

Was it nostalgic for you? That little boy now man

found an asylum, transferring past horrors onto—into me.

With each push, you ceded your fear into me,

drop by drop, until the dilapidated entirety


throbbed in my stomach and you were free



Fear has a funny smell. It’s the same singeing aroma

dogs can route. Four years later, I can feel it like a

Tallahassee summer storm pooling behind my ear.

You wonder how far I can open my mouth, the distance

my words can run—but my lips are a deadbolt, rusted with

salt water and know-how. Don’t worry, I hid the latchkey

in your honor all those years ago.

But my fingers run wild like boars as my skeleton spews

stories my mouth cannot. No one is safe when bones

are honest.


These days, I hear your mother’s health is better

than when we were in love; that your brother

sold his painting for fifteen hundred bucks and some

change; that your sister has a shiny job in New York City.

These days, you’re an invisible man running

to havens and hideaways— a stained couch

on the outskirts of Atlanta, a wheezing truck

driving nowhere fast, warm flesh— perhaps

warmer than I am now.

These days, there is only forgiveness when fear

draws home and when this epic lies at your curling toes,

I hope the gauzy clouds shape like my soft hips, Jackie-Boy,

my Jackie-Jackie Bird and you reclaim your doing,

kneeling like a king.


Tobacco and Cedarwood


He’s dead and his leather jacket

lays stolen somewhere up North.

Truth settles in your neck— yeah,

the achy spot—and digs and digs

and I found nothing of use,

no stories, no memoirs,

nothing— like Grandpa Rambo

was just that,

a stolen leather jacket.

Three black sparrows shared

a windowsill the day he died,

Ma said and that’s all

her memory saved

—Oh, I ate a sweet Gala apple

that day too—it don’t do no good

squeezing memory like a wrung towel.

What comes out will come out

and drip onto your toes, then dry up

like it was never water to begin with.

Maybe I’ll give up the search,

call off the dogs, and buy her faux—

rub some tobacco and cedarwood

on it, let the rain beat it—maybe

Ma will want one then.

She got his hooked nose and

moonshiner teeth, likely got

his grit too. Grandma was never

one to give the Lord a migraine.

I could scare the sparrows and drown the

fruit—still no feat— give the good prayer,

and say it ain’t true, ain’t it nothings


to a piece of cowhide, chalk-full

of sentimentality of a man I

never met, yet smokes Backwoods

in a rocking chair every time

I close my eyes.

I wish it was burnt to ash,

that some lowlife scum ditched it


on Highway 75 and it drowned

down Mad river.

I wish leather could die before

you could even remember it smelled

of cedarwood.


And all the idle weeds that grow


They say the owl was a baker’s daughter. Lord, we know what we are but not what we may be

– William Shakespeare


I’m a hundred year old cobblestone

on the corner of Edgewood & Elizabeth Street,

the ones you always

slated with wet concrete.

Poking between my fractured rib, a garden

of white flowered weeds sunbathe,

the ones you always

wanted to trim.

My ferns are unkempt, tangled

caked with dried mud at the roots,

the ones you always


I’ve got daffodils and lilies

and peonies and whatever flower

my mother loved and hated

sprouting from my freckles

—the ones you tried to pluck

and keep in your dresser.

I am not a shapely cube of grass

nor am I your wild honeysuckle

you extort for my sweet


none of which was ever yours

to drink, to pluck, to water,

to trim, or to slate.

Yes, I’m overgrown.


I still grow.


Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Julia Watson is a senior at Florida State University studying Creative Writing and International Affairs with a concentration in Political Science. Her poems are featured in Asterism Literary Journal and Pegasus Literary Magazine.