Rotting Genesis

Charlotte Gutzmer


Today the moon rises behind me in all its neon glory,

spotlight-searchlight spilling across the back of my neck,

sticky breath reminding me of what I can’t remember.

In the distance I can see them slit from the throat

down, guts dripping onto the rust and soil.

I can see the mechanical deer glitching—hiding

in the trees, opened-eyes bared-fangs, an uncanny grimace

meant for someone I can’t see. I can smell the rot,

though. I can smell my heart buried beneath me, earth

trembling and heaving with each bated breath, ribcaged

roots, aortas, held for centuries and crumbling between clumps

                of fungi, molding decomposition, the sting of rot

and congealment.


The soil is slick with black tar caked under cracked nails,

but I’ve finally found it. A mask of bone and porcelain,

an angel with too many eyes and teeth, tucked beneath

           a tangle of fraying wires and roots. It’s cool against my cheeks, sharp

                                and bitter, second-skull first-face, melding to my skin,

                and I suffocate. Something behind me unwinds, slinks away, and the

                                mechanical deer forget me once again.



Charlotte Gutzmer (they/she/he) is a nonbinary 21-year old undergraduate writer at UW-Eau Claire fascinated with all things magical and bizarre. In their craft, they explore themes of fantasy, identity, environment, and myths—they especially adore creating uncanny worlds that explore surrealism, obscurity, and realms just beyond our reach. Charlotte’s poetry is in part inspired by antique myths, folklore, and fairytales, and in another part influenced by modern adaptations of horror, queerness, and nostalgia. Their writing is an experiment in healing and enchantment, an intersection between all that is felt but not seen, seen but not felt. Charlotte has published three poems and a short story titled ‘Galatea’ in their campus publication NOTA, as well as a poem titled ‘Waterlogged’ in the alternative press magazine The Flipside. They are also currently an intern at the Chippewa Valley Writers Guild and at the Center for Writing Excellence, as well as editor-in-chief for The Flipside and a poetry editor for NOTA.