beautiful women are bad

January 2, 2020

A farmer wants his son to be afraid of beautiful women, so that he will not leave home too soon, so he tells a story about how one drowned his brother’s cousin’s friend in a lake, not because he was a pig who deserved to be drowned, but because beautiful women are bad, and also witches. And it doesn’t matter that she didn’t ask to be beautiful, or to be born in a lake, or to live forever, or to not know how men breathe until they stop doing it.

Catherynne M. Valente


December 6, 2015


Love, they do breathe through walls,
though I rise from your ear like a genie,
cork their mouths shut, make my body into a net
they catch against, their arms swiping through
to catch my snow-white woman of lacy scarves
and engine grease. Tonight while you were gone,
I saw myself as a sleepwalker
going out into the trees, their limbs
tying themselves off behind me,
the flaps on a straitjacket.

At every place our lives have touched,
pages have flown off and caught fire,
making the stars’ eyes water and blink.
Fred Astaire will never lose
his grace, and, love, though I cannot swing
from tree to tree, I do have wings.

John Rybicki