← Issue 2

Your Love Keeps

By Cassie Leone

Always do what’s right is good advice said someone
to the tune of Jackie Wilson’s “Your Love Keeps Lifting
Me Higher.” You’ll know from a feeling in your gut. My
gut never seems to know anything except I’ll have another
once it’s been emptied. My gut spins like the broken moral

compasses you hear so much about, it has no magnetic
North. Fidelity is as easy & permanent as swallowing
gum. Certain animals can only survive in zoos & our courtship
was parsed in the square feet of a terrarium. Now your love
is supposed to be lifting me higher. It was on the wedding playlist

but the DJ played “Shout!” instead. We pick out good ingredients
together, but after dinner we’re always still hungry. We touch
fingers lightly like we’re dancing the Pavan. In an Elizabethan
ballroom the air smells a bit of decay so we buy scented
candles. I know what’s right because my husband tells me so, I say

to myself as I prick my fingers. I thrust my hand into berry bushes
until they are stained the color of dark-red gloves. I mime the shapes
of a heart. I imagine all the other ways I could be thrusting
myself, how I could twist on the vine & gorge my witless gut, hold
tight to a body not my own. I’m heavy from lying beneath the boundary

stakes, the map of an unbuilt house. I’m heavy from never being
full. My finger is glutting around the gold ring the way a tree grows
through a chain link fence. My head is hard from wearing you
like a toadstone. I wanted to be lifted but I wasn’t sure
what was even up there, higher & higher.


Cassie Leone is an MFA Poetry candidate at UC Irvine. She is originally from the Bay Area in California, and completed her undergraduate degree at Smith College in Massachusetts. She thinks it’s important to know that she liked winters in Massachusetts, because she likes things in extremes. After college she spent several years working for antiquarian booksellers, but eventually decided she wanted to write rather than catalogue poetry. She can be found on Instagram @derwydd.