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THREE POEMS BY SULLIVAN JORDAN

Published in SICK issue 5, 2023

Sullivan Jordan is a nonbinary, disabled Jewish poet in their second year in the MFA program at Columbia University. They are currently exploring ideas of palatability, sense-making, and legibility in their artistic practice and life as it relates to their experiences as a marginalized person.

• • •

better

i am dying to get better
like better is something
i can hold or taste
or measure or keep

i am so desperate to get better
that i tuck it in the top of my sock
each morning to keep it close
let it carve a light line down my ankle
as i move through my day

impeccably timed so that it begins to em
bed itself into the bottom of my foot
as I step through my doorway in the
evening shine a flashlight as i perform
a bathroom surgery on better

removing its metallic body from my own
i am all faithful kneeling on the bloody tile
sacrifice my life for the grand desire of better

• • •

great plains

i am trying to be
like this picture
of pleasure

to put my neck
back on again

and be as few as
i am feverish

until my tongue
bleeds its chemical sour

i lay counting like you are nearly here
pulling some rope through my frozen hands

we are sweating right through
what we have tried a few times now to forget
the light is always just a moment too short

your voice drops off
like you are exhausted
just from the having of me

can i tell you how empty it gets in the saltlick prairie of my knees
i would never ask you to settle for a world this sick and small this
house where i am drowning in my own dust

• • •

first we tire of the starving

i have been a while now too heavy on my feet
to do anything worthwhile

too long to bend the way i should i wish
i were something with a stomach all
coiled around the sharp of the scissors

can it be just enough to lie still
and say grace to what pads the sharp corners

whittling presence into a bar of soap
what is left is only the washing away