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the druid and the bard

Carina Stopenski

i, crushing leaves and rubbing dry herbs and oil on my pink-tinged palms
you, calloused fingers plucking strings and splintering wood against hands

i hear your voice escape your lips
a siren song with a guitar riff
and i teach you about the stars
that would make us grow fonder
asking the planets why our souls
are finally winning life’s race

i, lighting a cinnamon stick ablaze and snuffing it in a copper pot
you, composing melodies made of magic to sing to the world

every so often the universe pulls strings for people like us
for those of us soft for beauty in the small things
the ones who find music in the soil beneath us

tender water creatures that end up evaporated
after pouring too much from our near-empty cups
now able to share from the bowl of another

i, pillow-flesh femme cascading down streets in gauze skirts avoiding glances
you, ethereal butch with the ability to bring a warm comfort like home

let the rivers meet at the center
and i’ll cast a spell for us both
let our fingers lace like tributaries
and i’ll be grateful for the path we take
let me blow smoke rings in your direction 
and i’ll listen for as long as you’ll let me


Carina Stopenski (they/them) is a writer, teacher, and librarian based

out of Pittsburgh, PA. Carina received their BFA in creative writing

from Chatham University, their MSLS in library science from Clarion

University of Pennsylvania, and their MA in literary and cultural

studies from Carnegie Mellon University. Their work is forthcoming or

has been featured in iō Lit, Cosmic Double, Fauxmoir,

and Button Eye Review, among others. Carina's writing centers

around the queer experience, body studies, and transhumanist


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