narrative

I examine all the women who aren’t needy whores.
I see my reflection and hear their affirmations,
and start to think that maybe I’m no needy whore myself,
until I fear these women are just whores like me-

Read More »

gives birth to baby in bombed kyiv metro station

When you came to be inside me,
our bodies decided we would survive,
and we chose a supporting role in all their mysteries
when survival meant nurture and shelter.

Our bodies decided we would survive
when survival meant expulsion.
When you came to be outside me,
we chose a supporting role.

My sideline blood, tears,
sweat, scars, and screams could fill
a lifetime’s worth of dreams for the exiles 
who welcomed you here, even as their own will fill mine.

You rivaled our shouts, 
like you’d yet to forget what the rest of us
had suddenly been forced to recall-
That to survive is always to be a casualty.

Still, we decide,
and you clench your hand around my finger,
as if in thanks, as if in love,
as if in solidarity,

Read More »

Things They Take Away

I know that his relations were projections of my own perversions,
that her assessments were figments of my own imagination.
I know I needed to scream, “No,” at all given moments,
and that hoops to jump through were black and white though changing every day.

I know that boys own the language, and smiles mean, “Come hither,”
that eye contact means, “I promise,” and that what I mean means nothing.
I know my words are confusing, my affection is toxic, 
my friendship seducing, and that my heart is destructive.
I know that they can’t help their love, and that on connection, I should give up
and wrap my strengths and eyelashes in something wet and cold.

But I know that he moved on 
without me making him respect his own boundaries, which were never my own.
I knew I was never responsible for what I couldn’t do.

Read More »

Whiplash

The way society views male nature and male responsibility,
conversing on whether “Boys will be boys” 
makes my head spin in circles.

I grew up with fiction and film teaching me that men work extremely hard 
to control themselves from their frequent, inevitable urges to rape, harass, and assault. 
I grew up being taught how scared fathers are to leave their daughters alone with men-
even good men, and even their husbands. 

This all made perfect sense to me as a child, 
along with the idea that whether or not I had any value as a woman 
was directly linked to whether or not men wanted to commit 
sexual violence against me.

And yet now, this narrative makes no sense to me. 
Why would anyone think all men 
are compelled constantly to heinous crime?

And yet, I do not ask out of innocence. 
I hold this confusion knowing firsthand just how common it is for men- 
good men- to harass, assault, and rape. 
It is all too constant and familiar to me. 

And yet, I do not say that as the most hardened of females. 
They placed me on their scale of victimhood,
and I graced their bottom half. 

And so all this tells me is that every good thing is 
very thoroughly broken, 
and that men’s capacities should not be judged by their past performance, 
and that the measure of a woman's pain 
shouldn’t be judged at all. 

Enemies

You don’t want to lay down, but it’s not time to run, so you arch,
throw yourself, scream, dive, and you hate me.
I bring you to myself and calm your body down.
You tire out but wake slightly, give me side-eye like you trust me,
and I slide you to your crib as seamlessly as I can,
deep-breathing in your ear until you’re
long-down. And you sleep long enough to little more than
recover, sit up in your bed and smile, start whining for me.
I say, “Come here,” and you stand between my thighs,
happily rest your head on my leg, and you need me.
I pat your back. Soon you change your head to my stomach.
You’ve forgiven me. Oh, you see your twin has the doll you like,Read More »

Mirror, Mirror

There was a little girl I knew, with vibrant, dancing eyes;
A slender, graceful, little girl, with skin pulled taut that shined;
A careful, hopeful, spirited child with hair that flew behind;
A princess in a castle soon locked up, constrained, confined.
…Just trying to understand her land.

Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall,
Are skin-thick walls too strong to fall?
Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall,Read More »

On Love and Appetite

I don’t walk around in euphoric affection-
I know I love my body because I love to know
my body.

Why it’s dry and when it bleeds, and if the seizures are going to stop,
what it likes to regulate towards.

My body knows what it’s doing; It has desires and needs.
I’ve faith in its imploring eyes, and it trusts me to oblige.

This is what I love most:Read More »