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Popcorn Lung

This author is a recipient

of the Sigma Tau Delta Award

Sigma Tau Delta Awarde


one letter off from the word die, 

also present in that 

cheap bag of popcorn, 

burning in the microwave.

Filling the halls with the stench of butter, 

and phlegm in the lungs

pull it out 

with the scooper 

they use at the movie theater

to collect popcorn. 

Kernels get lodged in the lining 

of the lungs. 

Some days when it’s hot, 

they’ll pop. 

The wall will burst,

and blood will stuff the lungs. 

Gorge your appetite for now, 

while you can still breathe, 

in between the fistfuls of popcorn 

you shovel down your esophagus.


Esther Windt is a trans writer who loves writing poems, short stories, and creative nonfiction, and is currently attending St. Ambrose University. Her work has been published in Half and One, The Atlas 17 and 18, and Quercus Volume 32.


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