Jessica Lanay

Maybe [light] gets tired.


leukos (Greek) from “white,” and

the English word leukemia, etc. legwh—meaning

“not heavy;” where we get words:

levity, lever, alleviate.



note 1: everything murmurs with the tension of preparation for flight. gravity is not binding, but

a pressure joculating against itself. the punchline: it could let go at any second.



Two [stars] trapped in each other’s gravitational pull.


sterre (Middle English); before 900, and

stella (Latin), and stṛ (Sanskrit); of

uncertain connection to other roots. some suggest

from a root, “to strew, scatter.”



note 2: some things are too pervasive to know the root of; like memory—like telling someone a

memory who has known you your whole life and they say, “that didn’t happen to you, you

weren’t there, how did you know,” some questions are terminal, nautilus that forever bounces

the echo, sending the question back, until it fades.



Most [galaxies] are redshifted—moving away from us—


gál (Greek) or milk; Hera pushes

the unknown baby away; and spills.

gálax (Greek+Latin suffix); milky one.



note 3: suppose all of this figuring, all of this nature quantified is just us smacking our lips

for the teat receded into the darkness. i miss you; come back; fill me. awe is the beginning

of violence. we keep scratching at the black face of her, demanding she tell us everything.



Continue to “Play. Ground.”

About the Work

Jessica Lanay

Jessica Lanay is a poet, short fiction, and art writer currently pursuing her MFA at the University of Pittsburgh while assisting at the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics. Her work focuses on architectures of interiority, escapism, history of psychoanalysis, and southern culture. Her poetry has appeared in Sugar House ReviewCrab Fat Literary MagazineAcentos ReviewFugue, and others. She has work forthcoming in The Common, Prairie Schooner, and Indiana ReviewHer short fiction was most recently published in Tahoma Literary Review, and Black Candies. A short autobiographical essay was also published in Salt Hill Journal. She is a Callaloo, Cave Canem, and Kimbilio Fellow.

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