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Destabilized and other poems
by Maija Haavisto



1. the action of consenting to receive or undertake something offered


2. the process or fact of being received as adequate, valid, or suitable


3. agreement with or belief in an idea or explanation


4. willingness to tolerate a difficult situation


Regretfully, on this occasion, we must decline your work.


1. the act or process of rejecting


2. the state of being rejected


3. something that is rejected


Rejection can be defined as the act of pushing someone or something away.


Rejection piggybacks on physical pain pathways in the brain. fMRI studies show that the same areas of the brain become activated when we experience rejection as when we experience physical pain. This is why rejection hurts so much (neurologically speaking).


Rejection served a vital function in our evolutionary past. In our hunter/gatherer past, being ostracized from our tribes was akin to a death sentence, as we were unlikely to survive for long alone.


Rejection destabilizes our ”need to belong.”


We wish you well with your future writing.


Of course you would, but what about my brain melting (neurologically speaking)?


We regret that we cannot enter into correspondence about editorial decisions.


We really do regret this. We are only serving a vital evolutionary function, even if it’s in the form of a death sentence.






Horseradish, but Without the Rad


like those horse heads

or T-rex heads: heavy and bulky

and you can’t quite breathe

it’s nice if you always wanted

to be a horse or a dinosaur

otherwise can’t recommend much

you know you can’t be a horse

even with such a contraption?

a centaur, at most

more like half-centaur

but the human head

sure loves its lies

”I can be anything”

”I can be an agent that

changes its surroundings”

”I can be”



the layer of extraneity

constructed of crinkly cellophane

fogging up with the breath

with the moist residue of thoughts

in the mirror you’re horseish

like horseradish, but without the rad

even then, the discrepancy

is painfully obvious

you can chomp

hay and carrots all you want

but nope, not a horse (or T-rex)

the centaur emanates

a plume of misty thoughts


”I am no horse”

throws off the sweaty headpiece

”I ain’t”






With the Floodlights Shattered, How Are You Supposed to See?


the stage has no curtain and no exit

no fire extinguisher

just a plain with nowhere to go

how did you end up

somewhere with no exit?

a disgraceful koan

like a fist in your mouth

that you can’t swallow

nor chew your way through


on the second stage

the air is thick and sticky

like you’re breathing goo

that clogs up your alveoli

you’re not supposed to

inhale it, it’s for punching

smack the air and

you may sprain your arm

but the world doesn’t falter

you should do it anyway


there is more on the third one:

a rope, a chair, a ball of hair

and it occurs to you: I’m good

at solving riddles and untying knots

I can untangle the hair

and it will return to its

natural two-dimensional shape

but Euclidean geometry no longer exists


you can’t see anything

on the fourth stage as all

the floodlights shattered and

no matter what they claim

the fifth stage doesn’t exist

when you get there

the ground just falls away under you

and you don’t even care

because of course it would

gases have become solids

liquids are now fire

and solids don’t exist

at this point, the audience

may applaud but it’s so far away

you can’t hear it

you just have to imagine

hands meeting in the darkness

only to immediately withdraw

somewhere in the merciful distance





TW: calorie


calorie (n. vulgar)


1. an obsolete unit


2. the energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water through 1 °C (now usually defined as 4.1868 joules)


3. equal to 1,000 small calories (they are very tiny, baby calories)

“A slice of this rocky road brownie with marshmallow fudge, maple fondant and caramelized smoked pecans contains 537,000 small calories.”


4. your worth, expressed numerically (remember, one calorie is 1,000 small calories or 4.1868 joules)


5. to condemn vigorously and often irascibly for some real or fancied fault or defect


6. to condemn to a punishment or fate

especially: to condemn to hell


7. to bring ruin on


8. your worth, expressed numerically, too much/never enough/always imbalanced/your body boils the water but it never turns to vapor

Maija Haavisto has had two poetry collections published in Finland: Raskas vesi (Aviador 2018) and Hopeatee (Oppian 2020). In English her poetry has appeared in e.g. Moist, Capsule Stories, ShabdAaweg Review, The North, Streetcake, ANMLY, Eye to the Telescope, Shoreline of Infinity and Kaleidoscope. Follow her on Twitter at: She has poetry readings available on YouTube at:

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