Bates February

5 Second Rule

Alexis Bates & Logan February


If you are awake, then you can hear the cicadas.
If you can hear the cicadas, then it is night.
If it is night, then the apple has fallen to the ground.

Impossible to say if the fruit descends to kiss the earth, or if
the earth rises to kiss the fruit. A bone-break, an audience,
captive. Girl, give us a show. An apple bruises so easily, red
skin as camouflage.

If it is night, & the cicadas are loud, then the apple is on the
ground, wounded, fallen close to the tree. If the apple is on the
ground, wounded, & the tree is nearby, this is all a bad dream.

Girl, give us a show, girl, pick yourself up. Girl, you need to
carry on, drag your feet if you must. Girl, heroine, frail body,
cold. Girl, girl, fruit-bearer, tree. You need your strength, you
have to eat something. Girl, the apple is right there.

If your skin is fallen-apple bruised, blue as deep night. This is
but a tender sleepwalk. A dream in which the devil rises up from
inside the earth, kisses the apple, smiles. If it is night, if
the cicadas have gone quiet, listen.

Girl, you need to get out of this jagged dreamscape, this forest.
Set the tree on fire, the earth on fire, yourself, everything.
Lovely burning thing, you go hungry for days, but starvation is
better than growth, a sacrifice. Girl, don't touch the apple,
that lip-red lump of pure cyanide. The devil's fruit. Better to
stay small than poisoned. Wake up, girl, don't bite.


Alexis Bates is a poet and writer that explores the intersection of body and womanhood in her work. You can read her words in Luna Luna Magazine, Five:2:One, Vagabond City Lit, and elsewhere. She has chapbooks forthcoming from Luminosity Press and Ghost City Press. 

Logan February is a happy-ish Nigerian owl who likes pizza & typewriters. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in(b)OINK, Wildness, Vagabond City, and more. His chapbooks,Painted Blue with Saltwater(Indolent Books) and How to Cook a Ghost (Glass Poetry Press) are forthcoming.