Riley Pickett

I’m worried I might be a narcissist 

No one asked me if I wanted this life
yet here I am, sweating in my 

lover’s t-shirt and thinking about
myself again. A therapist once told me

to quit introspection, just
for a month. Try it out, she said.

See how it feels.
I sat on the oversized couch,  

felt equal parts terrified 
and like she’d offered me a door,

some way out of the room I 
didn’t know I was in.  

Someone I once loved 
said she didn’t recognize me 

and I panicked because who am I
when my reflection no longer

sees itself? I write about myself
too much. The people I love

are just images of me and my
god they better be beautiful.  

Eve Eats an Apple


 
more was the echo within 
the echo, was the insistent 
beating in her ears, was a voice 
hissing in her dreams. 
more, it said, this genderless 
voice, this not-human god in her 
dreams. more, not because this isn’t 
enough, but because you 
want it. a hot rush. 
 
II
 
there was a distinct pleasure 
in devouring the apple, whole-hearted 
devotion to each sweet bite, 
down to the core, carving 
into juicy pulp, incisors 
cutting around bitter seed.   
 
III
 
there was no going
back. the apple was gone,
but she knew the ache 
of wanting, the ache 
of loss when it was over. 
the memory that prompts us
to eat again.   

SEA to JFK

Beyond the oval opening, puffs of smoke suspended
in time. Some clouds smeared like a hand across oil pastel.

This bright circle proof of the ground, still under 
my feet. I look up, see a stewardess

who may or may not be tall. She has loose strands
of blonde hair down her back and I want to peel them off. 

The solid weight of your head is held by my shoulder. I want
to wake you up to kiss you. Every poem I write is a love poem.

My best friend drove us to the airport and we stopped for drinks
just to be together a little longer. I haven’t been to New Jersey 

since the pandemic forced me out.  I might kiss the ground 
when I touch it. I want to kiss the crying toddler on her forehead. 

My shoulder hurts but I won’t move.
 

Riley Pickett (she/her) is a queer, neurodivergent chaplain, writer, and collagist in Tacoma, Washington. She studied English at the University of Mississippi and received her Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary.

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