manila

gabrielle astrid is a filipino/american artist currently living in seattle. her multidisciplinary, deeply sentimental work explores her observations and identities in the midst of diaspora.

brush your teeth and take your contacts out before the water turns off at 10pm fill plastic bins with water like an IV drip drip so you can flush the toilet in the middle of the night when you can’t sleep in the morning you’ll have pandesal and kape with tita two mugs in the microwave for a minute and a half instant coffee slowly disintegrating in warmth before you sleep turn on the air conditioner loud and artificial downstairs you cover all of the food in plastic and make sure nothing is left out cockroach playground home

Photography by Sanchez Murray

Kelly Gray (she/her) is a writer, naturalist and educator living among the tallest and quietest trees in the world on Coast Miwok land. Kelly's book of poetry, Instructions for an Animal Body (forthcoming, Moon Tide Press), explores tensions between loss and survival, de-centering human narratives, flipping constructs around predator and prey, violence and sexuality, and embracing cringe worthy notions of the ugly within. As a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee,  her writing has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Atticus Review, River Teeth, Lunch Ticket, Pretty Owl Poetry, The Nervous Breakdown, 3Element Review, CULTURAL WEEKLY, Bracken Magazine, and many other swoon-worthy publications.  She is currently working on a chapbook of short stories examining the messy intersections of love, abuse, tiger paws and knives. To learn more about her, please visit writekgray.com.

the recanting of ternion

Place us in a 63 white Mercedes,
doing a slow swim across an interstate
that looks like every highway we’ve already seen in film class.
Place him as the driver, and even though I lay sideways with her in the backseat,
the triangulation is moving forward.


Don’t look out the window, he says,
stern, rearview.
I look out the window.
I have lost interest as he manifests endlessly unraveling road beneath our wheels.
Synthetic perfume will do that to me,
a view of fields blurred by compulsion will do that to me,
being topped without a fight will do that to me.


I think about what it will be like when we park,
when he opens the door for us.
Sees in my eyes that I looked at the sides of cows,
saw the running of barbed wire against wild carrot.
I did not notice the way his lover asked me with her eyes if I could
be soft as the lines of a tail-fin blown against blue sky,


and I didn’t look down at my fingers
while wishing they had something hard to break against.

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