Gone Lawn
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Gone Lawn 54
worm moon, 2024

Featured artwork, Capitol Reef Wash, by Kathleen Frank

new works

Shauna Friesen

Whale Fall


Lung-gush of saltwater. Brine, baleen-combed. Sister songs, aching for miles. Creaking grief, unspooling in the liquid turquoise.
I cork-bob, wave-clapped like a barge.
All my days of rainbowmaking are done.


Here come the teeth.
The bubbling blubber slits. Crinkle cuts. Flesh ribbons, strawberry-squid colored. Incisors husk me for arils, pry me for pearls. Chunk me like a jaw-shaped moon. Like I saw her some nights when I rolled flipper-up, and she dangled shark-bit, milk-drained, angler-glowing, a missing mouthful of her in a sleeper’s stomach.
A gull makes rest on the bloated, stinking island of me. Beaks a taste from the jelly jar of my eyeball. Condors commune, treasure hunting my redded hulls, carrying krill-teeny rubies of me cloudways.


Down, down.
A heaviness I knew only in those times, when I used to wind up and pitch myself at birdworld, sunworld, skyworld. Sky I was so thirsty for, I drank sips of her every hour, but no matter how desperate I flung my weight at her, how determined I was to hang in her night-long as a star, sky slapped me back down in an instant.
Now: I stone-sink, anchor-drop, a gore-slab pushed trenchward with the force of a ship shove. Falling indigo-spun, hagfish-tinseled, skirted in scale. Last light unravels fine as jellyfish tentacles, bluing my bared bone.
Once I was a guzzle-gulper, a god-gullet. A sea-sieve, a tsunami-strainer. Volcano-backed, intestines lava tube wide, stomach a cathedral, tongue a mountain in my maw.
I, the unswallowable, sliding slow down a Mariana throat, a metropolis of mouths.


Here, where I slam and silt-settle and socket-blossom.
Here, where I am snail-polished, eel-inhaled, lobster-licked to skeleton.
Here, where octopuses yarn their arms through the loom of my ribcage.
In this belly-dark, inked as an oil spill, I am planted with stars. Sequined in supercluster, constellated in snot-flowers, zombie-wormed until I am more hollow than core.
These sorts of touches I once knew: Nuzzle-nudges. Silver Bank kisses. Daughter dorsal-digs. Shrimp-tickles against my oral scoop. Sisters scraping barnacle to barnacle.
But this: a closeness I could not have dreamed in my one-eyed sleep, a thrust deeper than fucking, this glowgarden of bone-eaters rooting in my marrow like kelp.


Everywhere at once.
Scattered like sun through the prism of the sea’s skin. Tossed like coral-spawn confetti. I live in this crab-scuttle, this wing-whip, this shark-shit.
See me there, stuck between mermaid molars.
There, through the glassy shell of a plankton.
See me surfing the cold seep. Slung on a sandbar. Slurped to the silicate center of the earth.
A relief, this stomachlessness. I think I have been this way before. Unblooded. Unstitched. Before and before and before.

Shauna Friesen (she/her) is a mountain climber, rock collector, and author living in Los Angeles, CA. Her words have been featured in Pithead Chapel, Foglifter Journal, Flash Fiction Magazine, Fictive Dream and Bruiser Magazine, among others. Twitter: @friesenwrites, Instagram: @shaunaexplores