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My Boss Asks for My High of the Week by Jaden Goldfain

You’re asking

to check my pulse

by peeling back my skin

and ribs and feeling 

for the beat yourself;

you’re asking for


prayers, weeping 

that God created 

words that scald

and words that alight,

you’re asking for 

suffocation in the city,

because I want to inhale

the whole damn thing,

you’re asking for 

“I’ll miss you, baby,”

except lips mouthing only

the shape, 

because I belong

to no one, care too deeply

about everyone, 

you’re asking for 


you’re asking for

the teeth marks in my arm,

you’re asking for

doubled over,

head thrown back,

choked laughter,


breath, breath

and breath like you wouldn’t

believe —

sir, you have a body, too. 

How would you describe

the ways that you ache?

Jaden Goldfain is pursuing her M.A. in Writing from Point Loma Nazarene University. Her work has appeared in CERASUS Magazine, San Diego Poetry Annual, among others. She loves Jesus, her friends, and people who either don't exist or don't know she exists. Twitter (X?): @j_goldfain

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