Chicago, a Whirlpool

by Sarah Walsh

Each line begins with a word and ends with the original meaning of the word/words it originates from

( ie. Checkmate comes from “shah mat”, Arabic for “the king is dead”)

Chicago, we could swallow. Pick and eat its flowering leaves like a wild onion,

Disaster always the air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror on the drive up, sick scent hounding us like an ill star.

Apostrophes stare from the breath-fogged glass, try to put themselves between our names. I press the defroster, turning away.

Oxymoron: no matter whose comes first it’s all the same. (Whispered) This spectrum of feeling exists between sharp and dull.

Vodka, then, is sharp. Apostrophes are obvious, look at their shape. We’ll forsake them, Chicago, anyone. We only need a little


Quarantine ourselves in Death Valley, walk like gods forever without any worry, put to shame Jesus’s forty days in the desert.

Checkmate, TigerGrin. 134°F, 282 feet below sea-- that’s sharp. We’ve nothing to lose-- our assets are burnt, the king is dead.

Mortgage and desk jobs, forget them. Forget apostrophes, I’ve set the car on fire, too. Us two will live forever, that’s our death