the swallow hips,

hands tighten a grasp

instead of shuffling papers

and with clementine oranges,

all to spare


my eyes widen, a set of lips

unburdened, to charge, to rifle

just as quickening tenses

when a woman, without apron

stitches up conversational parts


my words are reduced to newspaper headlines

stop, go, yes, please,

maybe is a forbidden word

in the construction of marriage


my husband,

wrapped at my hip bones

fingers spread like letters,

pressing ink into my shoulder

coffee cuts, mouths waiting akimbo

a command, cut fruit

across a platter

and my voice pours through breakfast.

About the Work

Stephanie Valente

Stephanie Valente lives and writes in New York. She has been featured in various publications including Hell Strung and Crooked (Uphook Press), Bust Magazine, dotdotdash, Nano Fiction, among others. One day, she would like to be a silent film star.

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