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By Valerie Fu

a terrible thought spins a glistening web in the back of my throat, 

waiting patiently, playing gatekeeper, for what comes out and what comes in and

what comes out is sometimes, but not always, better than what comes in — 

and sometimes, but not always, worse. 

and who is to say the spider herself doesn’t mourn the loss of a life no matter 

how menial no matter how gnawing the hunger no matter how loud the wailing 

of her unborn children? and who is to say what means what and 

who makes something meaningful and why things are the way that they are? 

playing gatekeeper isn’t as fun as it seems. dark eyes 

under hooded lids squint until black slits are all that is left. 

the light that is reflected doesn’t do much. moving through the blackness 

you can only trust the shaky white hands in front of you guided by 

unfocused pupils gazing as hard as they can until the 

tendons ache, until the blood vessel bursts. 

questions without answers will always be a finely spun thread that is 

pulled out of the back of my throat like the silk up my sleeve — comically long, 

infinite in a naive, childish way. glittery eyes consume 

just as much as a thirsty, thirsty, bone-dry sponge. 

without the answer, i am the thread, i am the silk. a glistening web 

catches the prey. the consumption hurts just as much as the purge.


A note from the artist:

"gatekeeper," is about writer's block and having a "gatekeeper" preventing my words from leaving my mind. This poem focuses on the suffocating feeling of self-censorship and the realization that I must keep creating/writing even though my inhibitions make it difficult sometimes.

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