I woke up in the middle of the night and wrote a love letter to my depression

I open your body and observe

the wasteland—dirt, reduction, and poison

with barbed-wire breath more comforting

than your empty heartbeat. In turn,

you open mine and search for a word

that means my worship. Tell me,

you say. Your body is a ravaged battlefield

of unspoken prayers. Your body

imposing mycelium. Your body enveloping mine.

I say, revival. I whisper, loneliness.


Shades of black. The most beautiful

darknesses you were. My skin shivers

from your familiar touch, the stomach

snaking deeper into itself in blurry

recoil. Bones house the horrors

ringing in the crevices of the hollow—

we made love too often

for my own taste. Our habit was

to keep the window open so that

we both could breathe the autumn

atmosphere of dusk remnants and colder

whispers. In that, I mean

you were always such a tease,

a metastasizing fear of falling

further into insanity until

only the shell remained. Blood

turned to liquid shadows. Heart

turned to stopwatch. The outside

turned to a smallness I’ve only

known in the worst dreams,

the most careful of nightmares.

JP Legarte

JP Legarte is a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign double majoring in Creative Writing and Science, Health, and Environmental Writing with a minor in English. He currently serves as a Communications and Outreach Intern for The Chicago Poetry Center and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize XLVII by Pareidolia Literary for his poem titled “The Petal Box.” You can follow what’s going on in his life and his poetic musings on Instagram at @jpl091.

Hailey Renee

Hailey Renee Brown is a professional illustrator born and raised in mid Michigan. A former field biologist, she moved across country from Michigan to New Jersey, also moving from science to commercial art. A professionally trained artist, she attended the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in Dover, NJ. She was selected the recipient of the 2017 Norman Maurer Memorial Award as well as the 2019 Joe Kubert Jumpstart Project.