I want to scoop out the stale seeds
of my skull, leave them outside
like bones to rot during winter,
where they’ll be dusted
by a light layer of frost
to camouflage the numbness
I feel on days when I am still,
flesh carefully decomposing.

They can live like the pumpkins
my mother let decay after Halloween
when I was twelve. At first, they will be nothing
but trash thrown to the dirt to die
among the weeds. With the Spring winds,
they will return stronger, sturdier, an oasis
of orange that grew
too wild, too unpredictable.

my thoughts sprout upon me so suddenly
that I can never remove the seeds in time.
instead I sit patiently and wait
for them to leave, only to discover
that they too are suffocated under
a soil they don’t belong in, pounding
to escape like the glass in my head that stabs
my cerebrum, slowly oozes out my spirit.

If only the grains of dirt that fuse together
to make glass could disconnect like the kind
in movies that disintegrate into sugary crystals
when broken. Then the glass I stare through
as I study the brick walls of my apartment
could never wound me, would be all
but dust dissolving, pieces of nothingness
left behind to rot like an old pumpkin.


my memory begins to melt
the more my thoughts collect on
my father. pieces of the past go missing
and my mind makes a new story
of the moments once memorized.

when I was younger we used to
build igloos together, creating
circular chunks of ice with warm
mittens made to suppress the bitter
wind creeping inside our coats.

it has been a decade since his death
and I have somehow forgotten how the
frost rested on his face or the slush of
sounds swaddled inside his voice.
the harder I try to remember the less I can.

every year we would build a snowman
to greet passing cars, except the year
the snowman refused to come to life.
the harder I tried to roll, the less I could.
this snow is too soft, not sticky enough

sometimes I wish brains had mittens,
something to keep their contents safe
from fading out of focus, so I would
stop forgetting the things I want to
freeze into immortality, keep sacred.

each December I begin to crave
the snow, the sensation of my skin
stinging as I fall back into white mush,
praying the snow angels I make will
never be like my dad, will never dissolve.

I want to stay here forever, let the
frostbite swallow my fingers into
stillness. I want the falling snowflakes
to fold around my body like a blanket,
keeping all parts of me numb, frozen.


I find myself staring
in a lens, left eye squeezed,
right fixated on finding
Auriga among the asteroids.

I see my father eleven years
earlier, paralyzingly bright
under hospital lights
despite developing pneumonia.

Locating constellations
is arduous. I imagine
the stars huddled
as they attempt to survive
in space, hiding
from all that cold.

The day the doctors said
he’d be free, I waited
inside our house, gaze
on the front door,
watching for movement.

All I see is stillness
as I remember that most
stars have burnt out long
before we look at them.

The door knob turns.
My mother comes home
alone. My dad is dust,
leaving us huddled, frozen,
unsure how to survive
in all this cold.

AMANDA CONOVER is a queer writer based in North Carolina who frequently includes themes of social justice, mental health, and philosophical ideas in her work. She serves as the poetry editor for the Carolina Muse Literary and Arts Magazine and holds an undergraduate degree in Creative Writing from Elon University. Her poetry has appeared in places such as The Chaffin Journal and Bridge: The Bluffton University Literary Journal. Find her on Instagram and Twitter @amandamconover.