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Poetry Summer 2016    fiction    all issues



Cover Carly Larsson

Sarah Sansolo
Bedtime Stories
& other poems

Miranda Cowley Heller
Things the Tide Has Discarded
& other poems

Alexa Poteet
Escobar's Hacienda Napoles
& other poems

Cynthia Robinson Young
Triple Dare
& other poems

Nicole Lachat
Of Infidelities
& other poems

Amy Nawrocki
Bad Girls
& other poems

Lawrence Hayes
Winter Climb
& other poems

AJ Powell
God the Baker
& other poems

Gisle Skeie
& other poems

Bruce Taylor
Always Expect a Train
& other poems

Ricky Ray
They Used to Be Things
& other poems

S. E. Ingraham
Storm Angels
& other poems

Laura Gamache
& other poems

Keighan Speer
It Rained Today
& other poems

Emma Atkinson
Grocery Stores Make Me Feel Mentally Ill
& other poems

Erin Lehrmann
& other poems

D. H. Turtel
Margaret, Again
& other poems

Chris Haug
Bovine Paranoia
& other poems

Kimberly M. Russo
Definitive Definition
& other poems

Holly Walrath
A Tourist of Sorts
& other poems

Angel C. Dye
Beauty in Her Marrow
& other poems

Winner of $1000 for 1st-place-voted Poems

Writer's Site

Sarah Sansolo

Bedtime Stories


I imagine my father

carrying boxes upstairs

in his too-skinny arms

and my mother, suitably

impressed. I don’t ask

for details, just the dog

he gave her for Valentine’s Day.

My mother wouldn’t give it up but she told me

about the breakup long enough

for her to love a man who was not

my father. It didn’t change the ending

I know by heart: gazebo, dress,



I can’t sanitize my stories for child

consumption, can’t have the stuffed

Valentine’s dog without the sex.

There was no true love in my dorm room

but on my twin bed Nicole found my G-spot,

loudly. In our future, I wanted

rings and flowers but my story is more

the original Grimm, wolves

under covers and blood in my shoes.

At the AA Meeting

You won’t believe I love you until I walk

from Thomas Circle down to Dupont;

up carpeted stairs, past walls

flagged with inspiration and lists of hours;

I enter close on your heels,

take a back-corner seat,

surrounded by girls who share the same secret

again and again and never,

never guess my secret,

that I don’t belong.

Every other word I write is a confession.

But here I can’t keep pace,

my tongue can’t form the words

“Hi Jessica” so fast.

I offer no memories here;

no blackouts or mommy issues.

I don’t repent, I don’t believe, I don’t

even like the feel of booze. I like the taste

of you. After prayers you show me

to your friends, buy me honey in a box.

Clytemnestra After the Murder

John Collier, 1882

I will never be a constellation. At night

I trace the stars into gods, heroes, men

who take—and women, victims all. I brush

Gemini, thumb caressing the brothers

who never once looked back.

I blot out Cygnus. I have no stomach

for swans. But I can stomach more

than these female forms reduced

to pinpoints, maidens dead for love,

daughters sacrificed—Andromeda,

Ariadne, Helle, Semele, Cassiopeia—

I will outshine every one. I am a woman

who takes back. There is bloody cloth

in the closet, a lover in the bed.

Better a murderess than a star.

On the First Morning After He Marries Another

“I languish for you . . . my sentiments for you are those of a woman.”

—Hans Christian Andersen to Edvard Collin

Lie to me—

I have learned to love untruths

when they’re all I have.

I learn to call them stories.

I write you in the margins:

prince and scoundrel.

Let me be the bride.

I dream of metamorphosis,

a shape to fit to yours,

legs to part and curves that give

beneath your hands—

soft as seafoam,

harsh as nettles.

Give me your ring,

be selfless just this once.

At sunrise, cut my fingers

at the knuckle,

take my tongue,

marry your girl in silence,

safety. Cut between my legs,

let me bleed out

red as this morning.

Remember this is nothing,

this is fiction, fantasy.

Remember that I’m lying.

Close the book.

Begin again.


I leave doors unlocked tonight

wanderer     I open windows

wind in my curtains making

nightmare shapes     I put on

the good sheets     I put on

my best nightgown     I brush out

my hair     I lie down     wanderer

I don’t sleep     I don’t hide

don’t bunker myself tonight

to ward away bad men

because you     wanderer     are not

man     what you are I can’t say

pixie or spirit     nymph or maybe

just girl     all I know     wanderer

are your words     your letters

your promises in the creases

for me your word     wanderer

is enough     come into my room

into me     stay     I left wine

on the sill     mint on the pillow

Sarah Sansolo is a graduate of the American University MFA program. Her poetry has recently appeared in Adanna, Big Lucks, and VIATOR, and will appear in an upcoming issue of District Lit. Her fiction has appeared in Flaunt Magazine and her nonfiction in The Rumpus. She was a finalist in the 2015 Bethesda Poetry Contest. Photo credit: Anna Carson DeWitt.

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