“This Otis chain was created from the vibrant community that populates the feeds of the poetically inclined on Instagram. The Otis image prompts [see above] sparked inspiration and gradually the chain lengthened, with poets from incompatible time zones connecting and deep diving off each other's prompts. Much fun ensued. Highly recommend. Get Otising, Otises of the world!”          
                                                                                                – Victoria Punch



heart, rooster, metronome, card, crystal, bottle, lawn, statue, snake, corn, bee, coat


My heart lives outside of my chest

like a morning rooster’s cry,

the metronome of the light air’s cradle.

I hold the cards I’m dealt – not one heart but two.  

Arteries like crystal, sharp, clear.

Like the glass of a low sea bottle from an old ship,

or a mown-short deep lawn with a pale

statue of myself in it, head and shoulders

necklace coiled like a snake, chainmail.

Like a field of corn

my heart is a place to house the bees –

a coat made of my own skin.


                                        - Victoria Punch @victoriapunch_ 

outside, like, cradle, hold, clear, low, with, shoulders, coiled, field, place, skin


Perspective (TW: suicide) 

There is a man outside my window, stray 

Like a raindrop ousted from the crowd.

Clouds amass beneath his feet, cradle-mouth

Open in a static hold; body in 

Suspended animation driven mad. It's clear 

To me (and to him) that he is not falling, head low,

Rather, he is lying still with the earth 

Rising to meet him, shoulders wide

Legs coiled like the spring, new growth waiting.

And the ribbons in the field, they are not blood, 

They are red snakes, slithering away. In this place,  

He is not dead; he has simply shed his skin.


                                        - Malgosia Ip @words.on.rye 

stray, crowd, beneath, open, driven, head, still, meet, new, ribbons, this, shed



Eyes stray from the faces before her,

tracing the crowd for any form of anchorage.

Heart racing beneath layers of composure,

seemingly mocked by their open cackling mouths, 

Her posture is driven down by gravity and self-loathing, 

head full of musty cotton balls,

lungs still expanding in robotic synergy.

No more ghosts to meet tonight,

no one new to fight or flee. 

Only muscle memory and the ribbons of time 

can pull her body through this moment,

vision blurred but not a single tear shed.

                                        - Pearle Brittman @poesybypearle


before, form, layers, by, down, cotton, lungs, no, fight, memory, pull, vision




Before we end, would you lace your hands

into mine, form that aching clasp once more?

Who else will peel back my stinging layers

one by one, who else will kiss me as the lift

plummets down this hundred-storied sky

scraper? Whose lavender cotton neckline

will I suck into these love-worn lungs?

No matter how the time may pass

and fight and fail to heal me,

the calloused grip of memory

will come to pull me under, 

a vision of rose-tinted torment.


                                        - Camille Sarah @camisarahpoetry

lace, aching, peel, lift, storied, lavender, will, pass, heal, grip, under, tinted



The sun casts lace silhouettes on the horizon,

And there’s a subtle aching in the cooling air,

As I wait for dusk to come and peel away my sins,

To lift me upwards out of this time-bruised skin.

When I rise into the many storied clouds,

Painted shades of lavender by the fading light,

Will the world look so different from above? 

If I pass my sorrows to the waning moon,

Will she heal my wounds and swallow my scars?

When day finally loses its grip over the night,

I’ll rest awhile under her celestial wing,

In a sky tinted indigo by a myriad dying stars.

                                        - Corinna Board @parole_de_reveuse 

silhouettes, subtle, dusk, skin, clouds, shades, different, moon, scars, finally, wing, indigo



The last few months have made silhouettes of us,

have scooped out anything subtle and left us stark,

full sun or midnight - no dusk, no golden hour.

Sitting side by side, our skin crackles with potential energy,

lightning sparking at the centre of heavy clouds.

Shades of grey are among the casualties of the year, 

and I wish I could feel different, even just for a while.

I think of the moon, a study in both change and constancy,

the way she wears her scars with no shame, the way

her fullness feels like an answered prayer: finally, the sky is fixed.

Quietly I reach for you, arm tremulous as a wing,

and we begin to find indigo, navy and cobalt in the darkness.

                                        - Jen Feroze @the_colourofhope


last, anything, golden, sitting, heavy, among, wish, change, wears, sky, quietly, find



I watched you sleeping last night: a lack 

of anything like worry on your features;

golden hair tousled across the pillow, body relaxed

and dreaming. Sitting on the edge of your bed,

watching your heavy limbs twitch and stir as I rearrange 

the duvet. Are you among the stars? Flying

through a universe of constellated imagination? I wish

I could change myself into a slip of light and dive

in with you — to the place where sleep wears

a tapestry of wonder, where the sky is an endless expanse

of possibility — I would quietly wrap my arms around

you, find a place to leave a kiss.

                                        - Karan Chambers @karanchamberspoetry  


sleeping, like, body, edge, watching, stars, through, light, place, endless, arms, leave



We’ve been sleeping this way, limbs folded together, for an age

The exhale of our sighs flowing like silk over skin

Ripples of your body whisper, drawing me closer

Toes curved over the edge of a waterfall - always, I dive in

I count your breaths, watching the rise of your chest

Chart the constellation of your freckles, utopia of stars

I weave subtle moonbeams through my fingers

Tip light into balance - matched, the night is ours

Molten pools in place of my throat, kindled sparks

Strike bone; fuel the heat of an endless fire 

Unravelling, I’m smoke and liquor inside of your arms - both

Consumed, we leave the flames to burn higher

                                        - Laura Jameson @laura.is.writing


folded, silk, whisper, waterfall, constellation, weave, balance, throat, bone, unravelling, rise, higher



We folded the chips in, you and I—

chocolate silk swirling ‘round 

and a whisper escaped your furrowed brow. 

Like a waterfall, I fell into it. Say what, lovey? 

You’ve always been my constellation, my shining star, 

the way you weave your little smile around my heart. 

I am never in balance, always fumbling about. 

But there it was, up from your throat: I love you, mommy. 

And every bone within my skin

—a swift unravelling. 

We watched our cookies rise through the oven glass

higher and higher, and I savored every gooey bite.


                                        - Leslie Yeary @lesliemichellepoetry

skin, glass, fumbling, say, love, swift, swirling, brow, chips, smile, savored, always


From our beginning I’ve only known sleep shared with whispered skin.

As raindrops to glass, I too fall with the rhythmic hushing we yield to.

I find you fumbling in the dark but have I ever told you I’m reaching out too.

I hear you say my name, it’s searching tone, rising, hunting and hunting for

moonlit love to find you, to bring you into the folds of tepid cotton comfort.

From crimson cries you’re now fluent in fret it’s a swift pull at my bones.

Swirling umber strands, I watch the sky littered with stars as I unravel your woe within them.
Your brow slowly releases as slumber beckons you back and back and back.
As dawn chips away at dusk, I watch rest desperately dissipate into silver,
but I still smile, warm sheets, buttery breath and cold corners are all

savored in silence, I breathe you in as you exhale out a final ”mama.”

The sandman didn’t share that it’s always you who keeps nightmares at bay.

                                        - Jemma Chawla @new_stanza


only, whispered, out, hunting, pull, cold, keeps, final, watch, bones, you, fall



We are the only species with whites in our eyes, to follow

the path of each other’s gaze as lashes whispered sweeping lines

Mired in a belly of butterflies, out comes a lost girl’s fire

Which wolf do we feed on this heartbeat hunting spree?

With every blink a flood, I pull back my thorny veil and taste the crush

Let the cold be surrender in its belt of gasping breath

He keeps my urge to tear my tongue in check

Hand brushed against my back, the final push

I watch the callus of suspicion shed its jagged skin

As the bones of his affection hold the weight of blood and grit

‘I’m going to love you into the shape of oceans’

Like a river flows to the mouth of another, we fall.

                                        - Lisa Perkins @lisaperks


breath, veil, let, heartbeat, eyes, lost, back, another, crush, skin, gaze, going 



As I draw breath up through my spine

Slowly, the veil begins to lift

I let myself enter into full immersion 

My heartbeat syncs with the divine

My eyes vision through illusion

Time suspends and I am lost to the other side

I live to eternity and back in that moment 

Another reality, no less palpable than life itself

Yet, there is a crush my soul feels when being called back

The way re-entry sheds my ethereal body and skin

The way the cosmos adjusts my gaze upon landing

But my soul remembers where it has been and where it is going

                                        - Jen Holly @the_write_vibe


draw, slowly, enter, syncs, vision, time, eternity, reality, feels, sheds, landing, soul 

also including the 12 original prompts from the first poem: 

heart, rooster’s, metronome, cards, crystal, bottle, lawn, statue, snake, corn, bees, coat


my heart can’t draw me on into the future

the clock runs slowly by the rooster’s cry,

its ticking helps me enter by the metronome

its beat syncs like a pack of cards

under the crystal vision of the moon.

my mind is held like time inside a bottle,

a dark lawn of eternity, this sky

a statue of reality through the numbered 

days. my heart feels like a snake

that sheds the skin of the old year, a corn husk,

landing soft: and then, only then, do the bees gather to

coat my soul with hope

                                        - Victoria Punch @victoriapunch_