Five Scenarios for Three Sisters

Five Scenarios for Three Sisters

Joanna C. Valente


Easy to imagine them as horses:

storm jaws eclipse, grass cools on their hinds;

they momentarily forget how to stand.


If they were a surgeon's hands: a husband wakes

from bypass to find he loves his wife more than his lover,

heart failure turns to agape.


A light flashes white—they are a camera lens: a woman

scoops ice cream, her child asking if she loves him

skulls gleam orange, assume position.


Drifts of sea-stuff hive between shells: they are crabs

settling for a final resting place—washing ashore without a husk,

a floundered open-heart surgery.


Split open, ropes of guts unsewn: they are jammed lungs—

birds fly above, beak out their breath;

a butterfly crawls out.


Joanna C. Valente is a human who lives in Brooklyn, New York. They are the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014), The Gods Are Dead (Deadly Chaps Press, 2015), Marys of the Sea (ELJ Publications, 2016) & Xenos (Agape Editions, 2016), and is the editor of A Shadow Map: Writing by Survivors of Sexual Assault (CCM, 2017). They received their MFA in writing at Sarah Lawrence College. Joanna is the founder of Yes, Poetry and the managing editor for Civil Coping Mechanisms and Luna Luna Magazine. Some of their writing has appeared in Prelude, BUST, Spork Press, The Feminist Wire, and elsewhere. Joanna also leads workshops at Brooklyn Poets. / Twitter: @joannasaid / IG: joannacvalente

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