load your lipstick in a gatling gun
to get ready for the night
the sidewalk cracks are too wide for stilettos
and too deep for anything else
wear fishnets to trawl the river, sift and dredge
the filth at the bottom and the scum at the top
and you, panting as you run
seeking shelter on a rainy night and finding only
reaching hands and open legs
inviting you to places you don’t want to go
the city at night is no longer beautiful
or maybe it never was
Evelyn Benvie is the wooly jumper in a family of black sheep. Both a cynic and a romantic at heart, she writes diverse, queer-positive fiction and poetry that have been published online and in print. Her first novella, Something to Celebrate, was recently published by Mischief Corner Books. Find out more at evelynbenvie.com or connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
Like a raft I float
on vicious waves
with what you gave;
Made me less
made me more.
You gave confusion and shame.
The gift remains:
in me, I found
Like fire hardens steel,
nightmares burn my heart,
I’d give it back, though,
if I could;
this gift you shoved
down my throat.
Amanda J. Forrester received her MFA from the University of Tampa. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Azahares Spanish Language Literary Magazine, Pink Panther Magazine, Collective Unrest, Trailer Park Quarterly, and other anthologies and journals. Follow her @ajforrester75
Today I stumbled over a page in my journal
“One day I will write about
your rubber gloves
And how each time they entered me
They delivered desperate hope
And how every time they exited me
They took with them a piece of my soul
I thought I’d never get back.”
Well, here I am,
speaking my truths,
moving the words etched in memories
from my brain
to my mouth
in hopes that the pain of you will float away
with the words as they are spoken aloud,
lost syllables in the wind
So, here are the words
I choose to move on from you with:
I do not hate you I pity you
I am not angry I am sorrowful
I do not wish I never met you For I would have never grown
Because I never believed in love
until I met you
And I never believed in the devil
until you put your hands on me
Taylor was born a Texan but now roams the world writing her truths and finding peace in the small things. Taylor began writing poetry at the early age of 8 and her words have been the one constant in her life through everything. Taylor writes her truths. The raw, the beautiful, the obscene. She hopes to heal others through her stories as she heals herself. You can find more of her @commasandcuriosity.
I told old man in the white uniform with cherry stains on it
that I didn’t want his flavor he was about to scoop.
So he scooped it anyway.
His words to me were
” little girl, you will taste what I dish out”
Shoved cone in my face
Salty tears slid down landing on his confection
Told me keep taking more
I gagged on bitter taste which violated my throat
Peddler pushed harder
“Eat every last drop, do not stop”
Wiped off my face full of stickiness
Ran from that place
Told whoever would listen
They laughed and said
” next time you should order a pizza”
Anger marched me back to vendor man
It was I that pushed his head into his
cold frozen cart
“You will taste what I dish out!”
Kimberly Cunningham has published three books, “Undefined,” “Sprinkles on Top,” and “Smooth Rough Edges,” in addition to 28 published pieces of work. It is her belief that each one should teach one. Find her at firstname.lastname@example.org
You smile, emerald pepper in hand, and you shrink me
into a single consonant, a controlled identity, the Beta.
B — her throat is the steel kettle on your electric stovetop,
simmering and boiling and compressed — she is trapped
in a Stockholm prison, where you peel apart her threads.
July is a blister, a heatwave dancing over asphalt, and B
says no until the word is a sound without meaning.
She swallows, eyes closed, mouth seared to numbness.
You buy B a subscription to National Geographic to hold
her down, another reason to be grateful dressed in a selfless
narrative, and the summer salt sits on her tongue when
the solstice weans into autumn. November, she drops
the magazines at your door, she’s itching at the throat you
forced yourself inside. B, she’s weaving her threads back
together. You know she won’t say anything, that B is
simmering and boiling and compressed — I am trapped.
Bina Ruchi Perino is a post-baccalaureate student at the University of North Texas, seeking a Bachelor of Arts in English, Creative Writing. She lives in Denton with her dog Maya. Her work has appeared in The North Texas Review, The Nassau Review, Sonder Midwest, Royal Rose, and other places. She is a survivor of sexual assault.