Cover Photo: This photograph looks at a bookshelf full of haphazardly stacked titles. On the left, we see a green vine curling along the side of the shelf.
Photograph by Pierre Bamin/Unsplash

Alphabetical by Last Name

This poem was written by Em C. Ma in a 12-Month Poetry Collection Generator taught by Angel Nafis

why bother. We’re all in the same tacky Barnes and Noble, only embarrassed by each other. Christmas music is playing and I shoulder my way to the shelves between Biography and Historical Fiction. All of us look for the same obscure book: [Redacted] Apologizes. I’m pretty sure it’s fantasy, some cross-genre of sci fi, derivative of I’m sorry.

Isn’t it embarrassing to want something so bad? I mean, to think that I’m grown and still open. My god, of course I couldn’t be a daughter. If I had an apology I’d stop inventing them.

Em C. Ma is a non-binary disabled parent and adoptee who spends too much time online. Evidence of this is @em_cee_ma on instagram and twitter. They’re always making things and they also review children’s literature and media at