sporklet 14

Riley Ratcliff

In Which I Change My Tone of Voice

When asked,

What part of your body aches most by evening?

I think of my eyes

and the pressure of their bodies left behind.


It’s April 2020, and yet

two months ago I would have said,

It’s my lungs that tend to hurt me

when I try to settle down at the end of a day.


What a world, that in so many ways has proven itself to be

the opposite of what it’s seemed, what it was in the sense

of my body (how it feels),
what it is (its ghost


in anticipation), when an economic system based

on the trade and accumulation of capital (the coercion of fruit)
self-imposes general strike conditions (death)

as medicine, and I stop smoking

because of anxiety.


Irreconcilable worlds are remapping,

my stomach often aches with hardened joys,

but things are coming back to normal.

Riley Ratcliff is a trans Latinx writer from San Antonio, TX. They currently live in Durham, NC, at the invitation of friends, where they work on several medical journals.