photo by Adrian van Leen


by Stacy Rollins

I want to use up everything.
Not just the salsa in the fridge
or the tube of toothpaste propped
behind the faucet, but the synapses
behind my snapped temper, an orchestra
of “played too much,” an entanglement
of cello strings unwound like scraps of twine
and left on a stage. Even desire: get rid of it—
increased closeness and familiarity with what one
craves intensely only ensures a loss of euphoria
and wonder. Get rid of it. And talking: I’ve used
most of the words in the dictionary, but I’ve not
used them up. I am not even sure how to do so,
but I envision a gym where language runs
on glycogen, lifts to exhaustion, and cramps
to a halt. Leftover unused wasted mellifluousness
cannot be tolerated. Later, in the shower
that boils it all down to vapor (and elsewhere
throughout my bathroom), near-empty samples
of face ointments battle each other like Space
Lego men. I want them gone. I am
the opposite of a hoarder.
Let’s have a stoop sale.
This is hand-knit.
Let me scream until
I’ve said it all
the floor shakes
and my nebulized sugar
crystal voice enters some angel’s trumpet
bell between his or her angelic breaths, loops
around the valves, all in reverse, exits the mouthpiece
shiny and supple, and is at last no longer my own.


Stacy Rollins is a writer, visual artist, singer, Tarot reader, and fitness enthusiast who lives in Park Slope’s historic district in Brooklyn, NY. Her first complete sentence—spoken at nine months of age—was, “I’ll get you.” It has served as a guiding principle ever since. She earned her MA in Creative Writing at FSU and has authored two books, Truer Faults (available at Amazon.com) and Learning to Read. Her other crowning achievements include designing her own religion, “Stanism,” while in law school, and also dropping out of law school. Her recent work has appeared in Atticus Review, Everyday Genius, Diversion Press, Garbanzo, Crack the Spine, Black Heart Magazine, and Poetry Quarterly.


Adrian van Leen is a retired clergyman, educator, and researcher in Perth, Australia.