Joanna C. Valente


When you're a woman & your last name
is jerked around like a rabbit running

from a wolf penning a way to climb
the cancerous limbs of a winter tree falling

like a dead woman's body after being
ghosted from body to body to another

struggling to wake up after she is gouged
on an icicle in someone's basement apt

& all of her is shot in the head like the good
slut she is & the psychic said her chakras

needed to be fixed & why does she wear
her dead grandmother's perfume if she

doesn't enjoy wishing she were dead
so when her dream becomes a reality, shouldn't

she be wearing that badge of honor like
a tramp stamp like the leader of a wolf

pack whose chosen spirit animal is an owl
is a helicopter is a crucifix is a syringe

around the arm of a girl who used to be
a boy whose only hunger is some pills to wind

back time to before she is alive so she's basically
dead anyway before she's even alive

& it's her fault because she's too pretty & no
woman can be that dumb not to know

how men are when the swing is about to fall
to earth & how could she not fall?

Joanna C. Valente is the Managing Editor for Luna Luna Magazine. She is the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014) and received her MFA at Sarah Lawrence College. Her second full-length collection Marys of the Sea is forthcoming from ELJ Publications in 2016. She also has two chapbooks, The Gods Are Dead & Xenos, forthcoming from Deadly Chaps Press and Imaginary Friend Press. Some of her work appears, or is forthcoming, in The Huffington Post, Columbia Journal, among others. She founded Yes, Poetry in 2010. Her ghost resides at her website

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