Five Poems by Vanessa Saunders


Blame It on a Woman

Blame it on a woman. She who argues not for the accuracy, but for the integrity of our Art. How I could not sleep. The slow systemic death of our garden. The sound of your voice. All of your belongings, just as you left them. Baby, I’ve found God.

Are My Hands

Are my hands dirty like my face, she asked. We are dreaming in the note of grief. Play me a song I know. You cry for endless summers. Temperate skies. Except for the holes. Is life, she asks, always a disappointment. The body is a dull morgue. Wanting to explain things. I want to feel the politics of the body.

You Feel

You feel relieved the universe is also in a state of hypertension. I came too hard. It was a variable of my mind, but you forgave me. It was all fun and games, until my nail broke. Any good fantasy affects the absence of evil. Whether or not ‘reality’ ‘exists’. Because that summer how often did you dream about giving up. I am consistently inconsistent, he once said. Pinch me.


Speculative romance. She was speechless before the terrific coast. These days you might find me in the past tense, or ‘I was there, I saw everything.’ Conjecture in the early dawn. Drama in the high noon. I am not a quitter, he said, reaching for his rifle.

In the Logic of the Dream

In the logic of the dream, you are gone.

This is the first of many inadequate conversations.

Learn how to ride a bicycle in the rain.

In profound dismay, I return to my dungeon of forgetting.

Sex is a painful hallway: you don’t come.

Vanessa Saunders teaches writing at Loyola University, New Orleans. Her cross-genre manuscript, The Flat Woman, was recently longlisted for the Tarpaulin Sky Press Book Award.  Her writing has been published or is forthcoming from Nat. Brut, Entropy, Poor Claudia, Stockholm Literature Review, PANK, Redivider, and other magazines.

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