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"Ill-Conception"by Jacob Griffin Hall

Growing up, I never wanted to be anything. Someone walked with me, a babysitter maybe, and watched as I pocketed a handful of thorns. I never thought they’d make a memorable crown. No one died when I was ready for it. I took my sister’s hand and said we’re lucky. She watched our mother laugh and said we’re lucky. She said it’s okay to want more from the life you have. I sat in a window and folded paper bats, just like Felicia taught me. Wings flexed and ready for what? My tongue was a muscle. My heart was a muscle. My skin was a ship casting Theseus to ruin. Growing up, I wanted my friends to live forever. I wanted to walk with them unchanged through the future, below an apple tree, beyond the dissolution of time.

Jacob Griffin Hall was raised outside of Atlanta, Ga and lives in Columbia, Mo, where he works as poetry editor for the Missouri Review. His first collection of poetry, Burial Machine, won the 2021 Backlash Best Book Award and is available with Backlash Press. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in 32 Poems, New Ohio Review, Black Warrior Review, DIAGRAM, New Orleans Review, Southern Humanities Review, and elsewhere.

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