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.

I tell the ghost

by Dessa Bayrock

No one’s due home for hours   absence
fills the house like a warm bath
and the cat stares intently behind me,                    behind me,                        
tracking something with his eyes                                                                    behind me,
that isn’t there.

I think of a hand   on that door   a hand
on this body   think   I’d hate
to die this way.  

There is nothing in this house,                                    nothing,                     
I tell myself   and I tell the ghost                                                                     nothing,
and I tell myself

and I turn again and again and again   trying
to be faster than my own fear 

thinking only, frantically  

                       a hand   that door   this body  

                                  a hand    that door    this body

Dessa Bayrock is a PhD student in Ottawa, where she lives with two cats and a variety of succulents. Her poems have appeared in The MaynardOCCULUM, and Half Mystic Press, among others. You can find her, or at least more about her, at

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