Polaroid of How to Get Along with Everyone You Hate


I tell you the city that I once lived in,

that we live in together,

I hate and always will—

and you compare it to another city

in the same region, miles away,

how you were miserable there

how you undulate consequences


but what you don’t understand

is that these two feelings + places

are not the same. What you don’t

understand is how everyone


eventually leads themselves out

of the hospital gown and into

a certain light from a window

in a reading chair with a cat that has

a name no one has ever named

their cat before.


What you don’t understand is

between these two cities my timeline

begins, between these two cities

the uneven strings of my hospital gown

are wrapped around me twice.


The silent room where the after-hours

of labor result in the birth-null. What more

than quiet in a body of water, in a birth-plan.

What more than in absentia




Katie Jean Shinkle is the author of one novel, Our Prayers After the Fire (Blue Square Press, forthcoming), and four chapbooksmost recently There Are So Many Things That Beg You For Love (Patasola Press, forthcoming). She is the Associate Editor of the Denver Quarterly and an Assistant Poetry Editor for DIAGRAM