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  • Cassandra Whitaker

When It Rains Indoors

Updated: 3 days ago

By Cassandra Whitaker

For Jen

The principal carries her smile in her hands

as if it were food. She feeds

everyone. But not everyone wants to be fed;

she smiles and calls each child

by name. So often children do not want

to be named because being named means someone

is watching and when someone is watching

there is often a choice. Do I hide? Do I

trust? How can one learn

if there is no trust? How does one

nourish? The principal’s name is Rayne.

Rain nourishes. Rain

destroys. The misery

of rain is in the need. The joy

of rain is in the wonder

of it, at just the right time,

at just the right moment.


School is in Session

By Cassandra Whitaker

Tractors carrying bread

for Norfolk shipyards roll by

like a complex sentence.

Twenty miles north, a sleepy security

detail transcribes phone calls, a lesson

on pronoun antecedent confusion.

In the Atlantic north of us,

a captain of a private fishing vessel

picks up refugees in exchange for cash.

He folds the money away

like a permission slip. His fortune

multiplies for the short term.

The refugees fortune diminishes

for the short term. In a small town

on the highway, wraiths skulk the dark

to meet the dope man; like adverbs

wraiths are in-between states. Energy

cannot be created or destroyed.

After Tiresias transformed back

into a man, he could see

beyond death. Death is a state

of being. State of being verbs

are passive. Avoid passive

verbs. Action, action, action.


Cassandra Whitaker (they/them) is a trans writer from Virginia whose work has been published, or is forthcoming, in Michigan Quarterly Review, The Mississippi Review, Foglifter, Bennington Review, Conjunctions, Evergreen Review, and other places. They are a member of the National Book Critics Circle and an educator.

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