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& in your chest, you’ll feel the fireworks.

by Saoirse Palmer


My words are all that’s good for me,

but they slur themselves like

the insides of gelatin.

I’m a spent match so

flicker it, love,

& watch it go.


Stuck there, drinking

down the December rain, I considered the train tracks a bathroom mirror, a kitchen sink, a school cubicle, so there, I drank the

silent fireworks & swallowed down the


I can’t say I sprouted wings

like someone who breathes in the ashes

of a dying home: more like

a deer,

who watches death’s condensation

& rests its antlers on the glass

so that when the car revs its engine

the headlights look like burning stars.


was my internal revolution.


The body is such a warm &

full place; we stuff it

to the pulp with frigidness, course & heavy words with cement for syllables

& then tear it away.

This cave I formed inside my chest

is spacious enough for us to fit — so sip some tea & giggle like a languid brain

your infection is here to stay. Like a running lyric,

like a lodged bullet, just like yourself

you made a home inside my chest

painted its walls with crescent lullabies

tucked it in & said goodnight

so inward, your words would echo through

to me.


Cycle it over

the permanent journey

that crawls in our bodies

it’s saying something new

something powerful—

yells thrash like crows in eruption, like bodies that

find themselves when they touch another;

drums beat

down into


& send its song to the dead; streetlights are shaking the hands of the air & greeting the


breaking down, even violently, is a celebration.

Here, I am breathing recklessly into

saline, gasping for broken air & surviving so live through pain, gather the words,

& in your chest,

you’ll feel the fireworks.


Saoirse Palmer (who prefers the name Ashton) is a sixteen-year-old, transgender writer from Northern Ireland. He has been previously published in issue 2 of Catheartic Magazine, Adolescence Magazine's issue 1.5, Gypsophila Zine's volume 3 issue 1, Ink and Marrow's issue 4, Issue 5 of Spiritus Mundi Review and issue 3 of The Elyisian Chronicles. You can find him on Instagram under the username @ash_t0nes His experiences with gender dysphoria has been a major influence in his writing - seeping into the cracks of his poetry, as it does in his daily life.


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