University of Texas at El Paso

            Krystal Languell



I know about cycles, like how

garbage turns to mulch. Like

little girls, we try to impress each

other: I was a princess. I was in

a play about a princess. Not even

the lies we told were well-made and

I watched them change into an ugly,

singed brand. I burn the things I touch

and they burn me back.

Navigation System

To locate events in Michigan,

you hold your left hand out, trace

on its back to tell: how you spent summers

at the tip of your ring finger,

how for your nineteenth birthday

we crossed the border at your thumb.

In high school, I drowned

at the bump of your wristbone.


Other states lack this intuitive map—

this the first Midwestern navigation,

highway system of tendons

and papercuts. How do they illustrate

Point A to B without our mapped hands?

When the lights go out, they will not

know how far North they’ve come.

The sense of contextual space in our fingers

transcends nightblindness.

I’ll still know Michigan.

Krystal Languell works as a senior editor for Noemi Press, is a managing editor for Puerto del Sol magazine, and teaches introductory composition at New Mexico State University. Her work has previously been published in River Styx.