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julia rapp / two poems

I've Got This Feeling That Won't Subside

While you inhale the unfiltered neon from a hotel sign

I wear fuchsia and hump a brick wall. Hair wet with no sign of rain. 

You sing to me from the doorway as if you were cheap. 

You’re always singing in doorways and I’m sure that others find it charming. 

I tilt my head to show you how mobile my jaw could be and trace

the bones in my hips, conjuring painted light like a prophecy. 

How you wail and loosen your tie. I pose with hairless thighs 

on a rooftop that’s saturated with fog. This time I have a saxophone. 

When I play it sounds like the moon if it could talk, like a wolf lost in the city. 

We part like we always do. You sit at a checkered table with another woman. 

I put my silk gloves on the shoulder of an older man. 

The saxophone keeps playing without my touch.


Because Of My Mother's Beauty

What I remember is the man at Peyto Lake who took a picture of her. 

How he joined us when the rocks poked out of the ground like black teeth. 

I rarely paid attention to the hair of older men, but his could have been 

milk poured over a living skull. He told us things. 

To capture a waterfall you need a long shutter speed. 

To capture attention you need a story about dying.  

He died, as people do. Spilled out from his raft when it toppled over like a glass

disrupted by an elbow. Reached for his packet of cigarettes when they bobbed 

beside him, put them in his wet breast pocket.

He had a bolt of yellow in his iris which I took as a sign that Jupiter had revived him.

To me, he was an interloper made dumb by my mother’s beauty.

I don’t remember what he said about the feeling of dying.

What I remember is the paling ink of the arrow tattooed on his wrist.

The mystical pines that were thin with age, how they parted and took witness 

of my mother when she walked with the swinging vines of her legs. 

The mist that bounced on her backpack, the washed light on her shoulders.


Julia Rapp lives in Brooklyn, New York. Her work has been featured in Chaotic Merge, 45th Parallel, Foreign Lit, Angle Mag, and Busan Beat. She often explores intimacy, friendship, identity, and love in all its forms. She received her MFA from Saint Mary’s College of California. You can find her on X and Instagram: @jujujulife, or if you're really cool you can check her out on Spotify under the artist name Julia Rapp.

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