Spinal Fusion                                                                             by Anne Graue

The entire earth is covered with uneven surfaces
and puddles. Pain travels an endless loop from toes
to calf to ankle in spherical tantrums. Anti-inflammatories
give the impression of gentle floating above
blooming hibiscus, and Zoysia grass carpets
a circular patch of yard, ghosting the flowers,
wanting nothing more to do with them. Armadillo
blood changed the soil’s composition to gray dust,
their armor disintegrated in spite of evolution. The fifth
lumbar disc governs all of the anxious neurons
in the legs, and the second toe of the left foot moves
independently without a sound. Many years have passed
since wild giraffes were commonplace—I remember
them to forget who I am now. The earth’s crust rises
up, meets the horizon’s window, ignores the pane
of glass at the edge, turning all things magic.

Anne Graue’s work has appeared in literary journals and anthologies both online and in print. The author of Full and Plum-Colored Velvet, (Woodley Press, 2020) and Fig Tree in Winter (Dancing Girl Press, 2017), she lives in the lower Hudson Valley of New York with her husband and two daughters.

Guest Editor Katelyn Roth graduated from Pittsburg State University with her Master’s in poetry. Her work has previously appeared online at Silver Birch Press and at Heartland: Poems of Love, Resistance, and Solidarity. Currently, she lives, works, and writes in Kansas City.

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