Stephanie Valente


niches of listless clouds waited,

they were talking about it today:

the boy that died, face down

the people sighed, he had eyes full of towns

and hamlets, waiting in fistfuls of dirt

what did I know about the ways of living?


It hurt, the melancholy indifference,

he clutched a book in his hands, they said.

I borrowed the man’s leather jacket

stood on balding grass, waiting, listening

I thought about the space between his rib cage

and, just how many

animals were waiting to lick at the marrow?


In this world today, it’s hard to make a living, they sighed.

     Repeat the mantra,

and it might feel better.

The price of gas, lies within so many plastic

vases, vials of water

flowers for the dead; cut and abandoned.

One day, they knew I’d marry that man,

     who didn’t want to grow up.


It began in the spring, it was over by summertime.

I am one year older and still look the same. Older and younger.

I go missing for months,

making smaller and smaller rib cages,

they burn candles for the boy.

The man pushes my calves apart after six months.

I have a new job, and I try

     to hold the weight of water in between my clavicles.

Did they bury the boy face down?

The beginning will be the same as the end.

Continue to “Good Girl”

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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