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Cleaning up the Ashes by Kara Goughnour

I watch myself write this poem

in the same way you watch a B-rated horror film

where the killer has been in the shot this whole time.

I conduct self-help in the same way

that I have been watering dead plants for three weeks—

all at once and obviously too late.

In this round table of brain,

I shuffle the papers, hold meetings with myself

where I show evidence that bad times may come again,

but in the good moments I can only see the graphs pointing upward,

can’t see their impending fall.

Kara Goughnour is a queer writer and documentarian living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They received their Bachelor’s Degree in Creative and Professional Writing from The University of Pittsburgh. They are the author of “Mixed Tapes,” forthcoming in the Ghost City Press Summer 2019 Micro-Chap Series. They are the recipient of the 2018 Gerald Stern Poetry Award, and have work published or forthcoming in The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Third Point Press, and over thirty-five others. Follow them on Twitter @kara_goughnour or read their collected and exclusive works at

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