I only take showers by Alex Aimee Kist

2022 Quartz Poetry Contest Award Winner


hot enough to ripen my skin with warmth,

partly for the heat, but

mostly for the aftermath.

I want to watch mist dance.

TV static over my body,

the only time I see a reflection that matches

this image in my mind.

Blurred, pixelated, obscured

like in fog or memory.

Is it simply that I have lost something?

Hair, blood, skin, saliva.

Am I more myself in my own absence?

With the dirt I’ve accumulated

weeping from my body

down the drain.

Or scattered into the air.

Some surrounding,

hovering above,

and falling back on my shoulders.


Alex Aimee Kist (they/them) is a non-binary poet and theatre artist from Salem, MA. Working in Chicago, they became a founding member of “The P*ssy Paragraphs,” a queer artistic ensemble, and a proud recurring spoken word performer with Resilient: A Celebration of Survivors. It is here that they found their voice and felt moved to share it with others. Now residing in Southern California, Alex is a proud member of Neil Hilborn’s Writing Circle and is featured in the anthology connected to this workshop, Poet’s Choice, Beyond Queer Words, The Closed Eye Open, and the 2021 Poetry Marathon Anthology. Alex strives to capture what haunts our experiences in order to break down mental barriers and give the gift of catharsis. They believe that sharing personal stories is a radical act of self-love and hope to empower others to do the same.