Mack Rogers

Visual Snow Syndrome



when I’m feeling my queerest, “poem” has one syllable

Have you ever noticed
the dust particles on a poem
when you turn the lights on,
grab the stepladder,
and retrieve it
from the top shelf of your closet?
The way it glitters the air
with finally and suddenly
you're driving an hour to a slightly
gayer town for an open mic like Cinderella.
You poem more glitter into the air,
poem to the restroom, and poem some new friends.
You poem outside while they poem poems
into the air and it nearly poems you but you breathe
those poems like you may never poem another poem in your life.
Then you realize it’s after midnight, so you poem yourself back home
and poem some more in your reflection and you can almost see the poems
still there but they could be anywhere and so could you. Instead, you wait for the glitter,
same time next poem.



Ars Poetica or Drink Plenty of Water

Though it goes against everything
I’ve been taught
I am learning to be
more patient and understanding.

I told my father Merry Christmas
Mom had him on speaker phone
and he said Happy Thanksgiving.

I text everyone I can think of
to check in
because it’s been a while.

I text my boss
thanks for checking in
when he asks when I’ll be back
from FMLA.

I play video games instead
of reading any of the seven
books my family gifted me.

I read a couple KB Brookins poems
while I put heat on my back.

I write a poem using voice
to text then eat
a weed teddy graham
put my wrist brace back on
and play more video games.

I help Mom
set up her new Roku.

I keep to my Christmas budget
and don’t feel bad
when I see the monetary disparity.

I buy workout equipment.

I let my tea cool some more.

I drink plenty of water.

I lie in bed
in the perfect position
to see the TV
without much pain.

I pack my car for the return
trip with my lumbar support
pillow and velcro
my braces to my wrists.

I whisper this poem
to my phone
on the way.

I don’t get frustrated
when Siri doesn’t
hear me correctly.

I tell my partner
I’ve written a poem.



Mack Rogers is a queer Black writer whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in Foglifter, The Pinch, Shenandoah, and elsewhere. Mack is a poetry reader at Split Lip Magazine and poetry editor for Zero Readers Magazine. He lives with his partner and their three cats near Raleigh, NC.