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Thea Rowan

CAS for Database

East Coast, USA


to cj

2:25 | listen, softly,

              to the crackling of your speaker,

                        that kinetic vibration that wafts

                                     through our shared brain in memory. you, an electric

                                            hum, lie here primly. alone. shoved deep within my gray

                                     matter and the dissonance of radiant chord. god the

                           composer placed you here with a gentle hand, he

            told you where you could be safe and

whole. come, girl, sit in

1:53 | the passenger’s seat, here next to me—where

our laughing ribcages can jangle together

            like keys to kingdoms we never claimed,

                       imbued in the refused backbone of a passing song.

                                    as we add tire tracks to the spacetime playlist

                       let our heavenly bodies crash together and

            breathe in the screeching minutes, beat your

heart like your skull like the drum counting

1:34 | down, forever—the length of your memory is

                             what the GPS says—the system being me, of course,

           now operating the winding knells. when we were

younger we thought we’d linger. throats engines of life. you loved

                when you listened first, so just brake when you listen last,

                               if the last ever arrives—

                                              late and skidding and

0:59 | i scoured for a voicemail;

                         the closest thing was this song.

            a vestige of honesty, an eternity

etched into waveforms. in the antithesis

             of a


you die once when your brain hits the windshield and

            again when the timer runs up,




i’ve swallowed your ears, scraped the melodies off the asphalt to

           meld them with truth’s hidden crannies—

                        i am the suicidal artist, i am

                                   the forlorn leftover, i am the engineer of

                                               exhausted hope, i

                                   listen with your lobes for mine in

                        divinity, i have drowned out the distractions with

             gasps of gasoline and done what

the conductor failed to cue

              i drive your scratched body so we live, i listen to

0:15 | your memory carrying the cusps of a sonata—

                        and with the force of a thousand gallons i wrench

            oxygen into our lungs, blood through our veins,

until there between the chords you are trapped in motion

                          as before, the song’s irregular tempo a

            sustained caricature. you might wish to depart at last but

i am selfish: i make you

0:01 |  listen, softly,

                        i hear the stars turn on their blinkers to signal you home

                                    with a gentle hand i press

replay ||


From its very first lines, “(auto)nomy” pulls the reader into a lush ground of auditory imagery, brimming with bold chords and crackling static, the drumbeat of hearts and the jangle of ribcages. The scene unfurls in hauntingly ethereal tones, delving into an exploration of the transient nature of life and the memories we leave behind. Culminating in a quiet poignancy that captures the painful edge of loss, the poem powerfully speaks to remembering and healing after tragedy.

Thea Rowan is from the East Coast. She loves comfortable silences, casual interactions, and creamy pasta. She dedicates (auto)nomy to a friend who passed away suddenly, and draws inspiration from their shared backgrounds in music and religion.


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