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.

Imagine this imagine that

By Devin Kelly

once I felt holy I was in the room while you were sleeping
& I wanted to say something but couldn’t I thought
this must be what love is a softness inside my mouth
I cannot fill with words did you know that for all the time
whales spend in water they hardly drink a drop did you know
if you cut open a whale’s tooth you can read its rings
like a tree to tell its age imagine this imagine that can you believe
for all our lives trees have had eyes they float underwater
while we measure out our flour our baking soda our oil yes
even bread takes time even love that morning while you were
sleeping I wanted to say a thing that wouldn’t wake you but still
might find a way into your dream I thought I could do it
I have spent so long practicing tenderness & what good is it
if I cannot quietly infect your head with love or build a small
piano with my hands that only plays songs in minors & flats
it’s okay you woke an hour later to my coffee & said it’s hot & I
called you cuter than a tangerine you see what good are words
I have a language to compare you to this world & even it
fails while we sleep tonight the whales underneath the ocean
will talk to one another in voices so low we couldn’t hear them
if we tried the water is good for this it allows them to speak
across the miles they will say look at this sky above our sky
they will say I am swimming to you & it will only take five
years they will say be patient I am slow but every hour
I will leap out of this water just to feel the sharp weight
of gravity they will say try it once yourself so we can both
know the world outside this world is worse than the world
we both inhabit they will say be patient isn’t it better here
where nothing is pushing against us but ourselves


Devin Kelly is an Interviews Editor for Full Stop and co-hosts the Dead Rabbits Reading Series in New York City. He is the author of the books Blood on Blood (Unknown Press), and In This Quiet Church of Night, I Say Amen (CCM). He works as a college advisor in Queens, teaches at the City College of New York, and lives in Harlem.

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