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.

On My Deathbed

by JESSICA MOREY-COLLINS

I’ll know I didn’t love enough.
For every cup of mint tea sipped
I gulped several, met deadlines
instead of friends, metricized danger—floods,
fires, subduction—but didn’t hold
my loved ones

 while making numbers of them
and their safety. Forgive me
for my reductive evils. Forgive me,
I left my sister. She nurtures a chrysalis
into its velvet unfolding,

 pours molten aluminum
into an ant colony. I haven’t loved
well, not anybody—wrenched my tender heart
far from threats. Violence festers
in the wake of dying industries—

statisticians tally cabby suicides in New York,
factory closures, families living sandwich
to sandwich, catastrophe an accident, an illness
away. The truth is, I knew what I was getting

into, moving, setting faceless deserts, chain restaurants,
whole tectonic plates
between me

and the people I love. It gets the better of me:
Curiosity—dusk glints
on unnamed glass across the valley, ash swirls
after an autumn blaze, the earth’s
lysed crust releases the fluttering
of other futures—but I’m not new
here anymore, I’ve stayed

for decades, fretting safety until my hems frayed,
insulated by distance, the precision
of my unshared bed, always a cool space
where I can roll my overheated torso.


Jessica Morey-Collins is a poet and resilience planner. She received her MFA from the University of New Orleans, where she worked as associate poetry editor for Bayou Magazine. Her poems can be found in Pleiades, Prairie Schooner, Sycamore Review, and elsewhere. She currently works as a project manager at the University of Oregon's Institute for Policy Research and Engagement. Find her at www.jessicamoreycollins.com

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