Linette Reeman: Wail/Wild



i don’t understand how laughter

works. do i hold my breath


until it explodes out like a sneeze?

do i force it out like bile? do i swallow


it like a pill? what am i supposed to

sound like when i’m happy? maybe


a plane landing? will my ears pop

like balloons? is it only real if my


throat opens like a water-slide?

is happiness a water-slide? can


i practice laughter in the mirror

or will my neighbors call animal


control to fix the strange wailing?

when animal control shows up,


will they ask me where the

feral thing is? or will they know


it’s me just by looking?






in the beginning there was a war and then some other stuff happened


and then we’re all sitting around my grandmother’s table in england and my grandfather is scraping everyone's plates off into his own and my grandmother says he’s a garbage disposal


and no one hears her except for this memory of it




(before i began, my mother and father grew into their jaws by living in their parents’ wars)


(before my family began, there was enough food to satiate every vermin)


(before the holocaust, my family existed only in a prayer)




in the beginning i read somewhere that a symptom of tapeworms is a ravenous unending hunger and i bookmarked that page and never stopped ruling that option out




(in the beginning there was a war and then nothing else mattered)




before i began, all the men in my family grew tapeworms and swallowed each new morning and they were lucky because all my family at the table is a jew so is a war or a plate or a prayer




(in the beginning there was a meal and then there wasn’t)


(or there was a war and then i happened)


(or there was a pile of dirty plates and then i started buying single-use)


(or there was a god of silverware but / i used my hands instead)




in the morning of myself my girlfriend (jewish) and i (jew-ish) eat off of each others’ plates and this is the most Abrahamic i have ever felt




(before the holocaust, jewish people ate


food and then there wasn’t and then


eventually my grandmother’s dinner table and


my father and grandfather both shovel at the limp meat


and this is the war remembering in their bellies)




in the mourning of myself a partner filmed me devouring at the restaurant's table and when i asked them why they said because i looked so concentrated / so campy / and it was funny to watch me scramble inside my memory for the correct--




(i refused to be filmed again / i didn’t stop the war / i just stopped remembering)

Linette Reeman (they/them) is a writer, performance poet, graphic designer, and Aries from the Jersey Shore. Their chapbook BLOODMUCK is forthcoming from The Atlas Review. / LINETTEREEMAN.NET