“If someone goes from pillar to post, they are forced to keep moving from one place to another”. I’ve found a weird comfort in this idiom recently as I’ve been mentally moving from one place to another. Along with this newfound resonance, I’ve also been working on my well-being during quarantine. This includes thinking about the future for the first time in a while. My family jokes and says that when I picked my degree, I just pointed to something on a list. Museum Studies stood out from all the others so that’s why I picked it. I wanted to stand out— have a standout life similar to M. Scott Peck’s “The Road Less Traveled”. Who doesn’t right? 

Joining anthology this year, among other self-help things, was my turn at being vulnerable. To give writing a try. To be brave. I used to dream about becoming a writer, to be able to leave something behind and join ranks with all of my favorites like Cohen, Vonnegut, Lovecraft, Foster-Wallace and others. I want to get close for once, close to something I really want. If this sounds like a tale of woe, I would honestly agree, and yet I don’t really care. Ever want something so bad you can taste it? 

Hopefully in the end it tastes like the smell of wet dirt, and doesn’t that sound so great? Anyway, these are the type of topics I wish to write about. I want to write of vague ideas and vivify them like the way an archivist would research a topic to death, until there’s nothing left. Thanks for reading my chapbook and this! 

poetry's alibi

didn’t mao write poems? didn’t the dogs still fight?

didn’t their yes’s matter? did their dark ever light?

did the birds keep eating,

or did the monks never stop?

could their will be willing?

could their mountains

forever buried,

ever be atop?

offending publics morality

in the name of a non-caution doctrine

which couldn’t fully mount

in the highs of highs

of lives to be account.

inconsistent compatibility

an ill-beating heart within the margins of your uncaged breast

in search of the intrigue they were promised back in the war chest

unsure if it is too late for ablation or

too early for the transplant,


much too many actions to hasten

and less words to weep

see numen, see hiroshima, see stirring and see heart failure itch

during your seventh, no! eighth bathroom wall movie this week

the courage to stumble in dirty rain when on the hunt

for the carelessness in sunday nighttime cruelties

fragility on the cusp

shadows we cast grow longer

swept up and thrown into the plausible

deniability that

man’s words could not be prompter

a martyr of truth

a deserter’s guilt

a firm fixed booth

where morals still tilt?

for evil cannot be purged and have good remain

would it then not be pain but rain?

rain that looks like drought

pain only at the hands of doubt

“…they told us suburban pools were migraines

and our ponds arthritis…”

“…i heard the nile river was just a case of shingles…”

they showed me that flash floods was being the lead car in processions

tsunamis, kidney stones

while bathtubs are false confessions

now i see your questions

to hold waterparks with appendicitis

the quickly spreading rumor of canals and heartbreak

a clouds moisture to backache

and dementia with icebergs

in large precise nonnegotiable terms


i asked them to vow

a vow to never ask about the sea

to never listen or believe what they say about it

they shouldn’t ask of what pain do the waves disguise as

and shouldn’t

ask about dark blues or still waters

but man is curious

and for this alone we shall never be a martyr

in the name of the waves pain


feelings found brewed

its cognitive dissonance for the sake of promptitude

Calista Middaugh

Calista Middaugh is from the Gila River Community located in Phoenix Arizona. Currently in her second year at IAIA, she is pursuing a B.A. in Museum Studies. Inspiration for her degree is derived from early morning museum trips with her great grandmother Phyllis Cerna. Calista enjoys reading, writing, taking long drives, and is thankful to be a part of this year’s Anthology team.