woman battered

He said he loved her as her flesh received the first hit,

The slap in her ears making the world ring

And shriek -or maybe it was her, screaming,

As he kicked, repeatedly, against her soft womb,

Her stomach, her spleen, her arms and legs, he kicked,

Whilst she screamed and swallowed the blood from

Her absent teeth, push out in one single blow from

His fist -the fist that loved her to death and was

About to prove it.


Here by Dawn Paul


[Poem by Dawn Paul, photo by Pamela Goodson-Brundige]

The neighbors’ tabby cat sleeps on my patio table,
while a procession of clouds crosses the sun, blink of shadow, then light.
From the harbor, the crack of a gunshot—
the start of the weekly sailboat races out of Marblehead.
The newspaper lies on the counter, pages flipped by ghost fingers
on the breeze from the open window.
I stand at the sink, cutting the pale-pink skin off a chicken, twisting the legs and wings.
The cat wakes, stretches in the sun.
What is its name?
What does the neighbor girl call at night?

[Dawn Paul is the author of the novels The Country of Loneliness (Marick Press) and Still River (Corvid Press). She recently published stories and poems in Contemporary Haibun, Naugatuck River Review and Valparaiso Fiction Review. She frequently performs on the Improbable Places Poetry Tour, a project of the Montserrat Writing Studio. She has received writing residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, Ragdale, the Spring Creek Project and Friday Harbor Marine Laboratories. She teaches writing and interdisciplinary arts at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts.]