how to survive a crisis without making it worse

poetry by Jill Khoury

how to survive a crisis without making it worse

i curry the coffee into a delicious bomb

i pluck knife stems, release the blades from dirt

i run the sink until the basin fills with joggling water

i slice cuttlefish tentacle and fry in a scatter of oil

i run the soap sponge around the lip of the cup

i replace books in alphabetical order

i fluff rugs and thrash a pillow

i write numbers for depression suicide anxiety appetite

i lay myself on the carpet floor to systematize my breathing

i beat the carpet floor with my stupid fist sobbing

i get a heavier shirt because of the wind

i rip the plastic wrapper to find more plastic 

i paint a tiny wooden coffin

i change the litter, vacuum often


Jill Khoury

Jill Khoury writes on gender, disability, and embodied identity. She holds an MFA from The Ohio State University and edits Rogue Agent, a journal that features poetry and art of the body. She has written two chapbooks—Borrowed Bodies (Pudding House, 2009) and Chance Operations (Paper Nautilus, 2016). Her debut full-length collection, Suites for the Modern Dancer, was released in 2016 from Sundress Publications. Find her at