Maija Haavisto: Three Poems


  1. the action of consenting to receive or undertake something offered
  2. the process or fact of being received as adequate, valid, or suitable
  3. agreement with or belief in an idea or explanation
  4. willingness to tolerate a difficult situation

Regretfully, on this occasion, we must decline your work.

  1. the act or process of rejecting
  2. the state of being rejected
  3. something that is rejected

Rejection can be defined as the act of pushing someone or something away.

Rejection piggybacks on physical pain pathways in the brain. fMRI studies show that the same areas of the brain become activated when we experience rejection as when we experience physical pain. This is why rejection hurts so much (neurologically speaking).

Rejection served a vital function in our evolutionary past. In our hunter/gatherer past, being ostracized from our tribes was akin to a death sentence, as we were unlikely to survive for long alone.

Rejection destabilizes our ”need to belong.”

We wish you well with your future writing.

Of course you would, but what about my brain melting (neurologically speaking)?

We regret that we cannot enter into correspondence about editorial decisions.

We really do regret this. We are only serving a vital evolutionary function, even if it’s in the form of a death sentence.



A Slippery Kind of Darkness

first it looks like this:                                                   .

but then as it comes closer it’s more like this           o

and it keeps coming closer and now it’s                    O

at this point it’s clear it’s a trapdoor that you can’t avoid as you’re either falling down or being flung into it, but we’re running out of letters, so let’s move to side view:


(this is a trapdoor, drawn from a side view, as you can see
it’s larger than it first appeared, as things tend to be
from close up, I don’t have to tell you this)

the next thing you know is that
the trapdoor has swallowed you and everything goes dark
which would take too much ink to represent on the page
so it’s best if you just turn off the lights now
or you can close your eyes and cover them with your palms
to emulate the feeling of being swallowed by a trapdoor:
a heavy yet also a slippery kind of darkness

the poem still goes on, but you can’t see it in the darkness
so I don’t know what there is to say, it’s very trapdoor-y in here

and you’re still falling but you can’t see it and you can’t read this
falling is sensed by proprioception and perhaps it could be
simulated by imagining yourself being inside that dot/line
but in three dimensions and shaking your head or
your device so that you feel disoriented or something
or try being somewhere between two and three dimensions
and see if that’s disorienting enough

I guess at some point you’ll open your eyes
at some point we’ll have to let you go
but you’re still inside the gaping hole
one day you’ll stop falling, at which point the poem ends
we won’t keep you forever, only until it’s completed
there will be light, there will be solid ground
there will be as many dimensions as you want
everything you’d ever need
but no more trapdoors, I promise









this page intentionally left blank
as you can see from the fact
that it is empty
similarly, the word ”pipe” is not a pipe
but a highly two-dimensional emptiness

on this island/page, there are
two kinds of people:
ones that always tell the truth
and the others always lie
you can’t ask them any questions
but one of them says: it is a pipe
and this page is blank but
definitely not intentionally
the other person chimes in: pfft, pipe! this?!
and the page was actually filled to the brim
who is telling you which door to take?
and should you switch?

you take the one the publisher tells you to
because you already spent
a bunch of money on this book
so if this page says it’s intentionally blank
you swallow your sunk cost
and damn well believe it

Maija Haavisto

Riddled with Arrows 5.2: “Spotlight 2022”
Foreword | Contributors
Meet the Features | Meet the Work
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