Editor's Note

As a single woman in my thirties, there are many newly-relevant phrases that have made their way into my lexicon. The undeniable ‘red flag’, the hero of many a meme, ‘green forest’ (an abundance of green flags), and of course, ‘attachment style’, referring to the ways in which we attach ourselves to people or the ways in which we love. And so, the use of this term as a title of a poem immediately piqued my interest.

Early on in the poem, Linskey’s image of ‘a brutal tender beast with wings’ carries within it the possibilities of both, violence and tenderness, already suggesting a complex attachment style. It reminded me of Atwood’s famous poem ‘You fit into me’, for the violence inherent in the (quite literal) attachment.

Linskey presents a speaker who is honest and vulnerable, a choice which takes away some of the jadedness associated with modern-day relationships. Lines such as ‘I’ve held onto a broken bottle now’ or ‘I tend to chase desire down dead-end streets’ are so devoid of artifice, they evoke empathy and connection. This is most evident in the turn towards the end of the poem (‘but the beginning is different every time’) which suggests hope as much as it reflects on failure. The true achievement of this suite of poems however, lies in how it makes this technique almost invisible, leaving us endeared not only to the narrator but to ourselves as well.

— Yashasvi Vachhani
The Bombay Literary Magazine

Attachment Style


I tried to flick a bug,

it clung to my finger instead.


 A tender, brutal beast with wings.


I understand. I’ve held

onto a broken bottle, know

 a slap warms after it stings.


Last night I heard a fluttering

then a splash of wax.


 I’m not speaking in metaphor,

 the moth extinguished the flame.


I tend to chase desire

down dead-end streets. I kick

the bucket in the corner.


Better to let my house burn.


 But the beginning is different


 every time.


My first love and I called

each other little bug,


 a brutal, tender beast with wings.





The sun rises like papaya on a fertile tree, crowding

the stars out of the sky.


 The girls finish their pre-dawn prayers and their voices skip up the stairs.


Seventy sets of hands dip into oil, comb hair, jab each other, jostle for the shared sink,


 the youngest of the bunch, muscles her way into view.


 Jacintha rings the bell,

 & spoons mountains of rice onto identical plates.


The small morning brawls settle neatly

like identical braids falling down the girls’ backs.


The sun sits high at noon. The girls regroup

 under pockets of shade to compare notes, trade secrets &

 practice the moves to Rowdy Baby.


That afternoon, Modi makes it a point to speak only in Hindi

during his Gandhi Jayanti speech. We crowd around the TV, but the room is too full of Tamil,

 of Kannada,

 of Telugu.


The sun ambles west like the line at the dairy, trailing behind us & waiting to be noticed


    where, I’ve embarrassed everyone with my white t-shirt.


When the teenage boys snicker, Bhagya holds my hand and spits Oh, I’d like to give them nicely.


The sun sets like the milky top of chai and pulls off the day’s sticky sweet film.



In Praise of Response—


which is sweetest after a period

of silence. How dirt welcomes

the spring’s first rain, soaked soil

overflowing from fields. In praise

of your gaze, where it settles

when I read to you in bed. In praise

of eucalyptus bowing to the breeze

and of the whale breaching

the water’s surface. In praise

of the first breath after birth,

of lungs and their instinct

for survival. Of mushrooms

that bloom after lightning strikes.

Of the arc of my back, of the weight

of your palm. In praise of saplings

breaking through earth’s crust,

of seeds growing where they are planted,

or carried by sparrows. In praise

of the crowned heads of baby birds

pushing out of soft shells.

Of my thigh rising to meet

your touch. In praise of fog

hugging the bay, the way the shoreline

accommodates the tide. In praise

of fireweed’s pink stem emerging

after a burn. In praise of egrets

and their care for cows, of barnacles

riding grey whales, and you stroking

my hair as I fall asleep. In praise

of Monarchs following the ancient

migratory path. Of ferns and shade

on the forest floor. In praise

of the lilac sky that calls early stars

into sight. In praise of the valley,

cool, between mountains,

of the echo we find there. In praise

of the call, how it rings, and

of the resounding answer.



Image credits: © Wolfgang Stiller.
Insta: @wolfgang_stiller

Stiller’s half-burnt extinguished matches are literal metaphors. There is a price to be had for living. As the master cyborg maker tells Roy, his most brilliant construction and dying from a pre-set age limit, in the movie “Blade Runner”: the candle that burns twice as bright, must burn half as long. And you have burned ever so brightly, Roy. In one reading, these poems seemed to be reflecting on the price of living.


Katey Linskey (she/her) is a writer with poetry out and forthcoming in The West Review, Emerson Review, The McNeese Review, Contemporary Verse 2, Cobra Milk and elsewhere. She spent ten years working in public health which continues to inform her work as a writer. She can be found on Twitter @katey_linskey.

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