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Manual to Running Outside -- poetry by Tiffany Aurelia

Safety, the cold ambiguity of it. I grow thorns out of my

eyes and hope they are sharp enough to defend.

In some other street, a girl silvers her hair clip into

the blacksmith of her hands, bares menace from unease.

Both of us don’t know it, but we slick the same prayer

against our tongues, each breath trailing that

universal manual of defensiveness. This is what the news

taught us: head snapped up towards the horizon.

Gaze straight, sharpened into a knuckle ready to spear

at the throat. One earbud in, the other ear

always unsheathed. How to shape the senses into

sensitivity, every action as sonorous and deep

as bone. Outside, it is not easy to differentiate between

footsteps and birds cleaving their wings

against the sky. It is not easy to beg ourselves unnoticed.

Desire, the cold stare of it. To have someone

leer and call it right. Even if it is sunny outside, remember

to cloak the darkness around the body,

be careful not to give fear a name.

Everything is only a matter of circumstance.


Tiffany Aurelia is a South-East-Asian writer and student, from the bustling city of Jakarta, Indonesia. She has poems published or forthcoming in Blue Marble Review, ellipsis lit, and Up the Staircase. She is an editor for Polyphony Lit.

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