Emily Rose Kahn-Sheahan lives in Chicago where she has hosted and curated shows for ten years, including operating as the SlamMaster for Mental Graffiti and the home curator for Real Talk Live. She has represented Chicago at the National Poetry Slam, provided performance coaching for
slam and beyond, held down a position as a board member for Chicago Slam Works, and was Chair of Poetry for the Bucktown Arts Festival; she currently contracts with Poetry Slam, Inc. to make every spreadsheet run smoothly. Her work has recently appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, TriQuarterly, Muzzle Magazine, After Hours, and TimeOut Chicago. Her chapbook, Cigarette Love Songs and Nicotine Kisses, was published by Cross+Roads Press. Her upcoming chapbook, Mouthy, will be released on Thoughtcrime Press.
I was a genius before I knew
to try. Haphazard prodigy.
Immaculate accident. Just by breathing
a new type of sigh. I’ll try to make it
seem more tragic: I’m alone,
always have been. So many
histories more torn and tattered
and ruined and rising from the rubble
than this sad sack. Suppose I said,
the last piece of paper on earth
and I used it to draw a cat. I stole my mouth
from a woman with a better story. Tell me
it’s the best lie I ever believed.
The Time We All Gave Up Sex
I wasn’t having any anyway.
It was an easy bet. Caviar
for lent. We started buying more
whiskey. It was winter anyway.
The moon made our skin hum.
The amaryllis grew two feet
and flowered all season
from the tension. We played spades
instead. Drank the shit-talk and bought
a bigger couch. I gave up nothing
really. I just stopped trying.
I wasn’t trying anyway. I think
we gave up trying. It wasn’t hard
to let go. I wasn’t holding on anyway.
The body adapts to a fast the way it forgets
pain. When Ben gave in and Aricka’s rage
needed outlet, I swallowed the moon, kept it
warm, learned to color, grew an extra tooth.