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.

Continuum Assumption

by Levi Todd (art by Fabrice Poussin)

The continuum assumption is an idealization of continuum mechanics under which fluids can be treated as continuous, even though, on a microscopic scale, they are composed of molecules. --Wikipedia


The therapist asks Have you considered your attraction to men
may stem from envy of their bodies?
And he does not ask me
the same about women, or everybody, and he does not ask
if my obsession with honey stems from envy
of something thick and sweet and ebbing and not letting go. The reason
we’re here in this office with the many ornate rugs
my distress is funding is because I am running out of solutions for me
and the body that often feels as though it’s trying to flip
inside out like a tube sock in the laundry. Amidst the rugs, I wonder
if soap suds can turn inside out or if they are constant
in their roiling, because most days my inside me (in all
their secret space) feels fluid and ungrounded and perhaps not
in the right vessel. That’s how physics works, a liquid adapts
to the shape of its container, will slosh if shaken violently,
and can be transferred quite easily actually if one just tips and pours,
remember the nursery rhyme with the teapot? Years later, I’d like to ask
doc, how can I not look at anybody’s body and not imagine myself
a hermit crab, hungering to find shelter in whatever will fit me best
and keep me safe when the tide rolls in? Of course this is the reason
I break a little whenever a poet says body, says home. Of course I see everyone
and can imagine our kiss, how I might spill into them and release
the kind of sigh I reserve for when a garment fits just
so. You can call it envy. I call it desperation,
and it comes out spilling.

Levi Todd is a queer poet and witness to the Chicago Renaissance. He is the Founder of Reacting Out Loud, an independent organization devoted to uplifting poetry and affirming community in Muncie, Indiana. He also serves as Assistant Poetry Editor for Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and his work is published in Glass: A Journal of Poetry, thread, The Broken Plate, and anthologies from Blueshift Journal and Winter Tangerine. He'd love you to tweet your favorite Carly Rae Jepsen song to him @levicitodd.

(Artist) Fabrice Poussin teaches French and English at Shorter University. Author of novels and poetry, his work has appeared in Kestrel, Symposium, The Chimes, and dozens of other magazines. His photography has been published in The Front Porch Review, the San Pedro River Review and more than 300 other publications. 

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