Diagnosis

by Grace Wagner

A ragged girl lies beneath the ragged moon dyed bloody
from the fires flooding the mountains—

All the wild parts of her have burned
away. All the wild parts of the earth
have been buried with her.

She is the figure of the crow
at midnight, perched
on the shoulder of the scarecrow—unafraid.

She knows the feel of a fist
tight around her neck. She knows
the smell of burnt coffee and the sweet scent

of medicine—made palatable with sugar.
She no longer believes in the mountains
as refuge.

She stands beneath the flaming moon, sinks
into the dark parts of the Earth,
feels the constant dying

of the planet, eternal
cycle of loss—

She waits for the flames to burn themselves out.

She waits for the ashes
so she has something to rise out of.

About the Author

Grace Wagner is a queer, nonbinary, neurodivergent writer and artist living with a disability in Denver, CO. They've worked as Assistant Poetry Editor on Gulf Coast Magazine and Copper Nickel, as well as teaching literature and creative writing at the University of Houston, where they received their MFA in Creative Writing Poetry. Their work can be found in The Atlanta Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, the Offing, Palette Poetry, Salmagundi Magazine, the West Review, and elsewhere. Their art can be found in the Adroit Journal. They were awarded an Academy of American Poets Prize in 2020. For more, visit: www.gracewagnerpoet.com