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 and established voices while engaging in thoughtful conversation around social justice.

at the art institute of chicago

by Eli Sahm

i crumple and swallow a twenty
and promise not to touch anything too much
the ticketer kisses our hands and moves aside
no matter how much we scream in unison
about fairness the paintings won’t
                        make noise or move

she selfies in front of monets until i fall
                        in as much love as possible
with his frantic water              i hate her
the more she laughs
            i wonder in the perfume among strangers
how painted water would move if we watched it
                                    all day or set it on fire

everybody’s naked and has believable penises
we take pictures we’ll forget to appreciate later
the guards clamp batons at the ground
the blue guitarist’s neck is too long to hold up
                        so we scream the notes for him

a naked man squats in a threshold
dangling a frog over his mouth
i nod my head for hours toward getting it
until the police box up his frog and haul him away

            which reminds me of 6th grade silent reading
            when i was caught using Absalom, Absalom!
            for a pillow because i couldn't get past the first page
            i pulled staples from the carpet
            to add to the staple ball i kept in my desk
            and squeezed whenever the teacher questioned me

and then it's nighthawks
trapped in an unclosed triangle
the framed glass growing opaque
with childhood fingerprints
blocked from touching whoever i came with


Eli Sahm received his MFA from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. He was a finalist for the 2016 NC State Annual Poetry Contest and his work has appeared or is forthcoming in Your Impossible Voice,OcculumRabid Oak, and The Indianapolis Review

from Time Enough At Last

Rock, Paper, Moon