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Root Bound

by Lily Trotta

Root Bound

Root Bound

You spread your best whipped butter on

a fresh baked peasant loaf and dunk

a piece in your afternoon coffee while we sit.

Tomorrow I am going to leave you

like the smell of warm bread through

the little window by the sink,

not necessarily for someplace better.


Tell me, are you happy in this room?

Does the sunlight warm your work-stiff

fingers? I catch you kneading dough sometimes

as though it’s the one doing the shaping.


One day, my hands will swell like yours

to gnarled tree trunks that push through

my skin like a dusting of snow and lock

themselves around a powdery rolling pin. Already,

I press on one sharp and reddened knuckle

like I’m trying to force it back in place.


Tonight, I’ll soak my hands in a nice cream,

orange blossom and lavender. You’ll wrap them up

for me in plastic and we’ll laugh as I try

to use my phone, pour the wine, tie back

my hair without use of my fingers. And when I see you

off to bed, you’ll give my velvet fist

a painless squeeze in yours, like roots

strangling softer roots.


And then, tomorrow. Leaving you. Your thin skin

and your drafty house and your clean

yellow kitchen with those tools and those smells,

the neverending afternoonness,

your tree trunk knuckles spreading over mine.


I think I should have mentioned the basket

hanging high near the little window by the sink, kept full

always with heads of onions and loose garlic cloves,

a few dumpy sweet potatoes. Please,

reach carefully when there is something you need.

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Lily Trotta

Lily Trotta is a queer poet living in Queens, NY. She is the author of damn good (Ghost City Press, 2018). Her writing has been featured online or in print by Peach Mag, Vagabond City, Bad Nudes, and more. She was the Curate Journal Featured Poet for July 2018. @lilytrotta

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