Tract (The Soul)

The first slumber party in Angie Bushnell’s unfinished basement I’m light as a feather, afraid I am too fat but stiff as a board, light as all their fingers are just beneath my skin a feather, stiff I inhale and hold as a board until I rise, I believe.


If only one toe sticks out, I will have to do it over again…one strand of hair. And so we practice the choreography of baptism in the municipal pool. My cousin Trevor, only a few months older than me, and already taking his sacred rite. We switch and he bends me into full immersion, his hands locked around mine in case I need help plugging my nose. But I don’t; I know how to stop the water from coming in. I know how to keep my air.


It would be years before my first exhale. An expectorant that left my lips open in an equilateral triangle, like an infant’s.

Holly Simonsen’s other work appears in Ecotone, Copper-Nickel, and Red Rock Review. She is currently enrolled in the MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.