Literary as hell.

Callaloo by Kira Stevens

I’m learning how to be mentally present

such that I’m more likely to hear random things 

I don’t know I want to know yet 

For instance 

today I found out 

there is a vegetable named callaloo, and now 

I know what I want to name my future dog 


On a somewhat related note 

there is a skin condition called cutis anserina 

whose nickname is goose bumps 

which in my humble opinion 

sounds a lot less scary 


I recently watched Animal Planet for 

about three hours, and now 

I’m convinced Peter Pan somehow 

made a baby with Bambi 

and the world decided to call it a pudu

so I think in a previous life, Artemis was 

my best friend and I was 

the world’s smallest deer who 

never had to grow up


Before the internet showed me 

what happens when cicadas emerge from dirt 

like hungry zombies

I wanted to believe that every dead human

gets to become a tree 

but now I can’t stop imagining 

how it would feel to be the first feast 

for a buzzing army: standing still

and sacrificing my skin

to feed everybody 


Sometimes when I think about dying

I picture Boba Fett falling into the Sarlacc pit 

so if there is ever a time when movies come true

and humans become extremely small 

like they do in Honey, I Shrunk The Kids

I will most certainly have a very real fear of sea urchins 

along with an inability to trust big starfish  

because I can’t erase Patrick eating babies from my memory 

and my heart is aching for Spongebob who

has no idea what his best friend is doing 


I’ve been reading Daniel Quinn’s Ishmael 

so I’ve been thinking about food chains 

and about how things need to be this way 


I don’t want to watch the shark eat the seal 

because he’s cute and reminds me of my dog 

but the thing is

if I don’t want him to die 

that means I’m rooting for him to survive

thus he himself has to find somebody to eat 

and consequently 

he’s going to hunt the penguin daddies 

who are marching home with food for their offspring 

so if I ever meet a young penguin in person 

I’ll fall to my knees and say I am so sorry 

for having this bias not in favor of your family 


In this current moment I’m reading about three giant trees

older than 20 million years 

and I’m wondering if these are the levers 

God plans to pull whenever the world is ending


I used to think there’s a big red button somewhere 

that we humans are bound to push down just because we’re not allowed to 

but now 

I’m coming to terms with the fact that we have no control here 


We can call things callaloo; 

we can change names to make them easier to swallow;

we can dream of being smaller than we already are 


but things will be 

as they will be 


and all we can do 

is watch

and learn from what we’re seeing 



Kira Stevens is an MFA candidate at The New School studying creative writing poetry. She’s also an intern at The Bowery Poetry Club, where she performs spoken word and hosts open mic events. Follow her on Instagram @words4food and twitter @kirawritespoems

1 Comment

  1. MZDotts

    Love this!!

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