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3 Poems by Mahailey Oliver

Muscle Memory

Everything in my life has ghosts like 6AMs and morning toast. Times when I needed you the most— but you left me here—an empty host.

The scent of rain without teakwood cologne like the sound of no laughter on the phone. This choking sensation, being alone, like un-pressed space in the memory foam.

Dark roast hazelnut on the grocery shelf, fuzzy blankets and loveseats to myself— The Paint with a Twist store on Main and 12th are all things that haunt me, like you, yourself.


The man once stood a willow,

now a will-o-the-wisp. Stripped

bark, decaying phosphorescence.

Weeping. Long tendrils of sinewy

leaves trail behind, beckoning

a Spring that will not arrive.

Piece by Piece

When I was younger I used to peel my Oreos apart, devouring them layer by layer, eat my square pizza at lunch by pulling the pepperonis off, then the cheese, then the breading.

So maybe it makes sense that I break people down layer by layer by layer digesting them one surface at a time.

I’ve never been good at Big Picture, only at the here-and-now, the moment-by-moment.


Mahailey Oliver is a graduate student of English and Advanced Pedagogy at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. Her work has most recently appeared in Interstellar Flight Magazine, The Sufi Under the Mystical Moon, and Amarillo Bay. When she is not reading and writing, she teaches English at a high school in Texas. Her favorite English word is ephemeral, and her favorite Spanish word is sacapuntas.



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