Cea Jae Dykes

Moving is not easy, not fatal.

Falling into barbed wire
the sharp twisted metal
prods, pulls, cuts
at my skin and clothes.
Movement makes it worse
but to be still is to die.
It would be easy to
not breathe, to stop moving,
to let the blood from my cuts
run freely and out into the
world. Give the earth color
while the color fades from me.
It would be fatal to give up,
to spit out hope even though
my tongue needs all the
moisture it can get.


bare feet on wet wood

The lightening makes
me flinch like the flash
of an unexpected
picture. Both dangerous.
One Mississippi.
Two Mississippi.
The thunder roars,
following the light
like the good dog it is.


This Is Living

Engine huffing, smoke trailing
The scent of gas
Trickles my nose
Gets pulled into my lungs.

The window halfway down
The vents pouring out hot air that
Mingles with the chilled wind
A hurricane inside the small space.

My fingers dance out the window
Gliding through the wind
Trying to snatch the air
Ending up with the wetness of sprinkles instead.

Music blaring, eardrums ringing
The beat vibrating throughout me
Throat aching with singing along
Words spewing out and into the night.

Hair tangled and knotted
Hands sliding against the wheel
Foot pressing the gas gently
This isn’t driving.



I put some paper
into the shredder
and watch it get
chopped into pieces.

Do you want to play?
my young cousin asks.
No, but I only say,
They asked me to do this.

She shakes her head.
Apparently thirty games
of hide and seek
weren’t enough.

Listen, she says, serious,
Sometimes you got to
do what your heart
wants to do. And if
your heart says to play
with your cousin
then that’s what you do.
Just follow your heart
and do what it wants.

How is she only seven?
Okay then. Can’t argue
with that, I tell her.
Her eyes light up.

I might not want to,
but at least it’s fun
for her. She’s paper
and I won’t be a shredder.


Cea Jae Dykes is from Winfield, Tennessee. She will graduate in 2019 with a major in English with a creative writing emphasis and a minor in French.