a note from Alaire…
Although never physically assaulted beyond a pinch, I’m still nervous about personal safety because of living at college when a serial rapist was on the loose. My roommate and I slept with the windows closed, no air conditioning, one Virginia summer because we were so afraid. The rapist did strike next door, not more than 15 feet from my window. I went off to a job interview in another city that day, not knowing that the news had been announcing “Virginia Avenue coed raped” all day. My friends were in a panic because I wasn’t there to answer calls.
I never told my parents of the danger for fear they’d pull me out of school. I was in the first coed class. I didn’t want anything to block my success.
Switching on the Light
I wake in the dark.
A man stands silhouetted
in the doorway. I try to scream,
find my voice sleep-paralyzed
like my legs.
Shhh, it’s only a dream,
whispers my husband, pulling
me close. My moan fades.
My adrenalin soars.
I wake in the dark.
A man stands silhouetted
in the doorway. Repeat,
repeat. Over twenty years
I blame the serial rapist
who haunted college nights.
The one time my roommate
was gone, he climbed
through the window next door.
How can that other woman
ever sleep again?
At work one day, I explain
to a friend why I’m dragging.
This man in the dream
never speaks or comes
toward you? she asks.
Maybe he’s not an intruder.
When you were little,
didn’t your daddy stand
at the door like that to check
Alarie Tennille graduated from The University of Virginia in the first class admitting women. She serves on the Emeritus Board of The Writers Place in Kansas City, Missouri. Alarie’s latest poetry collection is Waking on the Moon. Please visit her at alariepoet.com and check out her new blog there.
Smart blonde in Bebe Rexha style texts her Albanian-Serbian boyfriend and promises the holy land to their overrated love. I have never been to Albania before. All Tirana witches will make me so hilarious just smiling while all chains are breaking.
Klaudia Rogowicz. Born in 1987 in Zabrze, Poland. Polish poet, drama, screen and playwriter, novelist. She had published many e-books and paperback books. She writes her poems both in English and Polish.
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash
the women in my family have never been regular.
blood comes out in heavy blankets or not at all.
whenever i sleep with men, whenever i am fucked,
my blood comes seeping through the blankets as
if my femininity has been cracked open
and it’s begging to nurture someone.
the women in my family have a habit of disappearing
when they take names that don’t belong to them,
they become wives.
i close my eyes and imagine a future in which
i am alone in the woods, on my knees praying.
i have eaten dirt for men.
i have become like the women in my family, almost
disappearing through a hole in the system.
the blood comes gushing out of me, heavy
and it smells like death. down my thighs it
slides, landing in the grass, i will leave this
world as i came into it—silent.
Rumors Hint at Winter
Your spine curved inward like wind howling through the house. Watch how his limbs move, how my lips never quite say the words I want to scream. Doors I never want to shut will slam against me causing me to spiral. I eat your words like gold confetti falling from a ceiling. I crave a light that can be eaten and that weighs down the stomach like stones in the pocket of a river. I brand myself with fingers that open up my mouth and reach in to catch my tongue. I’m so silent I scare people. I scare lovers with my silence. I scared my mother when I was born with my silence. Nurses reassuring her that I was just looking around. Decay is the moth I watch fly closer to the light because I want to see it die. I read an article about women who date emotionally unavailable men. You subconsciously don’t want to be involved with anyone. I diagnosed myself this morning. I can remember how you pulled me up from the couch, gentle as the spider web wraps around me, sheets of white casting you as the savior. I remember that I am never the savior.
Stevie Lynn has previously been published on the Feminist Wire, “When you Renounced the Catholic Church (or sex with you)” and on the Fem Lit Mag, “Devil’s Tower.” She has also published poetry in the University of Vermont’s literary journal: Vantage Point. She is currently working at Tennessee State University.
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
All my girls
I keep losing babies
Each one of them I name Hope;
I braid their souls into my own
then tie it round my throat.
Whenever I try to forget
Put down and walk away
The noose cinches tight
And gives me pause to stay.
They keep saying, “Try again!
We don’t know why this breaks.”
So I keep losing babies
That are turning into snakes.
They slither through my bones.
They eat my blood and eyes.
All I can see is death
Crawling from my thighs.
My son keeps Mimics
in his room.
He doesn’t feel them
eat his heart.
He can’t even see
their pointy teeth.
“My dad gave this to me.”
He has let them endear themselves.
He protects his perceived treasures.
He cannot see through the deceit.
My son keeps lies
in his heart.
He doesn’t let them
bring him down.
He tries to pretend
they are not bribes.
It is the only thing his dad gives him.
Ellie Hudson has a bachelor’s in psychology from Meredith College. She lives in Kentucky with her best friend/husband and two wonderful sons. She likes strumming her ukuleles, cross-stitching, coffee, cows, and playing table-top games with friends. She has been previously published in The Rising Phoenix Review.
Photo by Gabriele Diwald on Unsplash
of the little boy – on the Orange line, Boston
of the supermarket – Black Lives Matter Protest, Oakland 2013
of the old dude – at the lake, Oakland
of the boy – at the lake, Oakland
of the skateboarders – Oakland
Daniella Ciccone is a traveling photographer and writer. Catch her on Instagram at daniella.fay.