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Augur, Butcherbird, Jack Hartley

CW: death, mentions of suicide

We’re walking over the bridge in the town’s meager forest

when you tell me a girl our age killed herself jumping off it.

“Right here,” you say, leaning into the railing, and your voice

gets a dip and lift to it. I might follow her—that kind of sound.

We’re standing in the spot, but I don’t know if I believe you.

You tend to lie, after all. But you keep watching leaves float by,

and so I look down into the water and see her, that girl, bloated green,

water-rot tangled in the bridge supports. She looks back up at me.

I can’t tell if you saw her, too. We’re both quiet now as I straighten

my back to look out at the trees instead. You want me to say something—

I can tell. You want me to tell you not to do it, but my mouth is full of

creekwater. We walk home; I keep my lips carefully shut against the stream.


Jack Apollo Hartley (@jackpollyharts) is a trans bi poet and writer who holds his breath when he crosses bridges. His works can be found in perhappened mag, Southchild Lit, opia mag, and other lovely places.

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