Heather Truett & Haley Winans

Self Care

Heather Truett and Haley Winans

2023 Collaboration Contest Runner-Up

“But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature
is inevitably a war against himself.” | Rachel Carson

I harvest the hair from my legs like lumber, slash
and burn blizzards on my dandruff scalp, clip toenails to capsize

boats on turbid bath water. I am a tempest
of a temptress. I paradox my pendulum hips, petrified

still, joints locked like Monsanto seed vaults. I fight my carotid
artery, constrict the caring, croon praise

songs to earth. Thank you for letting me suckle
Gaia’s milk till I die, sweet crusty mother. It’s time

to feast, so I drown my baby
carrots in pesticide dressing, douse blades

of glowing leaf in ddt and pop the blood berries
of mosquitos in my mouth to add a pinch of iron. I care

for myself without self-caring. Do you want me
to slough a polyester shroud, lather my face in dead

sea mud mask and sink deep to ignite
bath bombs, fizzling diamonds trapped

inside the orbs, toxic waste leaching out of my landfill
eyes, my fracking pit pupils. I won’t stop staring

at peeling sunset wallpaper while I glaze my skin in pig
fat lotion, blush my face in crushed bone marrow. Keep

me engulfed in oil spills and forest fires, finger
flames filling my hollow spaces. I want to love

me, to love all this mess, love myself rotten or ripe
again. I stay whittling myself away.

Heather Truett holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Memphis and is studying for her PhD in fiction at FSU. Her debut novel, KISS AND REPEAT released from Macmillan in 2021, and she serves as an Assistant Fiction editor for the Southeast Review. She has work featured in Spoon Knife, Hunger Mountain, The Shore, and Sweet Lit. Heather is represented by Hilary Harwell at KT Literary. Find out more at heathertruett.com.

Haley Winans is a garden-lover and bunny mom from Annapolis, Maryland. She has poetry in Rattle, Slipstream, The Shore Poetry, Breakwater Review, Folio Literary Journal, Minnesota Review, and elsewhere. She’s a recent graduate of the University of Memphis MFA Creative Writing program. She’s a founding co-editor of Beaver Magazine. In undergrad, she studied Environmental Studies and Creative Writing, with a hyper-focus on environmental justice, sustainable agriculture, and poetry. Twitter: winans_haley.