Cotton Xenomorph is a new literary journal produced with the mission to showcase new and ecstatic art while reducing language of oppression in our community. We are dedicated to uplifting new voices while engaging in thoughtful conversation around social justice.

The Girl on the Unicycle

by Amorak Huey

My life has led me to a one-way street
lined with two-story houses
across from much larger homes
& a neighbor girl riding a unicycle
which she does with no particular grace
but a great deal of earnestness.
A skunk has died under someone’s porch.
It’s a thing to talk about. The carcass
is gone but the odor lingers—
for how long? we all wonder.
My life is one out-of-body experience
after another. Another neighbor
offers a beer; we talk about our kids,
he is younger than I am
but seems more comfortable here.
His wife grew up a few miles
from where we stand
& babysat the children
of our local grocery magnate.
Everyone starts somewhere;
my life has not stopped feeling
like practice for some life
that’s just around the corner.
She is not practicing for anything,
the girl on the unicycle,
she is not performing,
she is learning to disappear
into the ride: there is only
this single wheel
against the sidewalk,
& effort, & balance,
& maybe something like pleasure.


Amorak Huey, a 2017 NEA Fellow, is author of the poetry collections Ha Ha Ha Thump (Sundress, 2015) and Boom Box (Sundress, forthcoming 2019), as well as two chapbooks. He is co-author of the textbook Poetry: A Writer’s Guide and Anthology (Bloomsbury, 2018) and teaches at Grand Valley State University.

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