My Vagina Will Be the Death of Me

June 17, 2017

In the morning a storm like breath
dimming in dread twists like silver
around fingers, a bit too tight
so it leaves a mark, almost stops
blood but faintly quivers back –

larger like smoke from a house
fire – blacker – heavier like
colonial brick. Part of surviving
is to keep moving, grow up
& ignore the distance where

dogs sometimes bark – most
people will try to write a novel
without using their hands, praying
to a sack of human bones dug up
in the sand, ask WebMD if

we’re hypochondriacs, if a man’s
hand at the base of a woman’s
vulva is haunted with alien symbols,
is a weapon salting infertility,
is an abandoned Victorian decomposing

in Louisiana heat, his hand over
her mouth stales her desire for
anything, her mind sets an ultimatum:
Heaven or Brooklyn? When she
gets home she tweets #StruggleCity

& cuts an apple like sun lighting
the holes between maple branches,
a voice wafting a million years homeless
like burning garbage the shape of
woman’s first body, a hole drilled down

the middle of a long damaged earth.

Joanna C. Valente

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