shot glass
"... brevity is the soul of wit ..."
- William Shakespeare


Holly Painter is an MFA graduate of the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. She has two forthcoming books of poetry: Excerpts From a Natural History (Night Bomb Press) and Wanderlust (Kekeno Independent Press). Spermaceti, Seepage, and Slacks come from her project Awkwords, a collection of sonnets about awkward words. Holly lives in Singapore with her partner and writes poetry for hire at

Holly Painter

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Leakage doesn't sound so bad, although ooze
is rather repugnant. But seepage best
depicts the spreading puddle of gooey
wetness under the fridge that's now progressed

as far as the living room carpet or
the discolored pool that formed in the kitchen
corner where I had completely forgotten
about a bag of potatoes, which,

after four months, had finally liquefied.
And somehow, seepage the noun sounds ranker
than seep the verb, perhaps because seep implies
what seepage shows: the putrid substance

originally enclosed with good reason,
the floor awash in foul secretions.