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By Hollie Dugas

I discover them in all types
and in the strangest of places,
muddled grapes at the bottom
of wine, barnacles in oceans—
independent from body,
they flop with impulse
like fat snappers. And with
each scarlet kernel I collect
in net, I lick salty tears
from wounds, and check
for pulse, pushing my fingers
into electricity—the meaty
organ spittling its broken
messages. I hug every wild
quivering core near my ear,
the carmine shells, to locate
the buffalo’s thunder
that is my match—each pith
stampeding to be part
of something bigger.
Last night, I sat on the love-
seat, trying to warm
myself. I did not fill any
voids but I practiced heart,
clasped together my smaller
than average hands,
an unfamiliar arthropod,
and squeezed 115,000
times over, studying
the gaps in my heartline,
how much space was left
open—the thread breaking
and unbreaking, a web
too difficult to climb.


Hollie Dugas lives in New Mexico. Her work has been selected to be included in Barrow Street, Reed Magazine, Qu, Redivider, Porter House Review, Pembroke, Salamander, Poet Lore, Watershed Review, Mud Season Review, The Louisville Review, The Penn Review, Breakwater Review, Phoebe, Broad River Review, Fugue, and Louisiana Literature. Additionally, “A Woman’s Confession #5,162” was selected as the winner of Western Humanities Review Mountain West Writers’ Contest (2017). Hollie has been nominated for a 2020 Pushcart Prize and for inclusion in Best New Poets 2021. Most recently, her poem was selected as winner of the 22nd Annual Lois Cranston Memorial Poetry Prize at CALYX, in addition to, the 2022 Heartwood Poetry Prize. She was also a finalist in the Atlanta Review’s 2022 International Poetry Contest. Currently, she is on the editorial board for Off the Coast.