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Trees Without Conscience by Kara Goughnour

In winter, I lose a piece of myself

in the leaves, each flaking flukkra

of snowflake falls without asking anyone first,

and in this fluff of dog’s-feet-snow, my lips

are like a cracked paw walking down your

downy chest, marking where I want to call mine.

In winter, I am less of myself but you still seem to love me,

and I hold you like a space heater I want to burn me—

my hand through the grate—I can feel this heat on my skin

and in my lungs. This cold is numbing, both in its purpling

physicality and in my icicle-cyclic spasms of sparking brain.

We are trying to friction the life back in, we are trying to catch

the sparks on our tongues. We are giving

this love the only bursts of warmth we’ve got.

Kara Goughnour is a queer writer and documentarian living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative and Professional Writing from The University of Pittsburgh. She is the recipient of the 2018 Gerald Stern Poetry Award, and has work published or forthcoming in Third Point Press, The Southampton Review, and over twenty others. She can be found on Twitter @kara_goughnour and her collected and exclusive works can be found at

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