Love in the Age of the Maybe-nots

Emily Stokes


Cute, sure, but their indigo curls tend to get snagged up in your daytime gears. 

In exchange for the usual assurances, they quiver and purr against your sore joints then pass a velvet paw along your brow like an actress mid-scene who desperately knows the truth. 

You call them with a whistle or not at all. They’re coy on purpose but bristle easily at the noises downstairs. It’s best to keep the appliance doors closed: their spiral horns get tangled in the dishwasher’s ribcage, glittering thagomizers catch the edge of condiment shelves. 

They’re beautiful because they’re yours but otherwise make the museum curators cry. Their bleating call, that primal “meh!” reverberates through the scales of their nostril flairs. They keep you honest: weighed down in the appropriate ways.

And your love, though tepid, is everlasting. 


Emily Stokes received her MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College and currently serves as the Managing Editor for Madcap Review. Her work has appeared in SLICE Magazine, The Westchester Review, PANK, and the Toadlily Press Quarto Series. She currently lives, works, and writes in Philadelphia, where her first full-length manuscript is crashing on the couch and looking for a small press to call its home.

Return to Contents