Chemical Harm

Wet hair holds fine fabric, a soft smile
as soon as I walk in my door. I probably
started this ritual: a bath, my best stories,

toxic chemicals used to treat skin for
centuries, an acid mined from the earth
today. When you muddle through your
hurts, your body focuses your mind.

Start from within
, you’ve heard. The day
has put together your hunger.
No reply
by the bugs in your gut. Eat your mood.






If you’re new here, let me tell you what I’m doing: Each month, I write poems using phrases from a different magazine. The phrases don’t have to be directly contiguous, but they do need to be in order rather than all jumbled up. So, I choose a word or a phrase and then look until I find another that will join it in an interesting way. Sometimes the final result tracks better than at other times, but I hope that each contains at least a portion that works well and says something. This month, the magazine is SHAPE. So far, it seems to have a pretty acquisitive take on health and fitness, which I guess shouldn’t be surprising.


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