Author: Stephanie Valente

Stephanie Valente lives in Brooklyn, New York. One day, she would like to be a silent film star. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming fromdotdotdash, Nano Fiction, LIES/ISLE, and Uphook Press. She can be found on Tumblr and Twitter.

What I Think About, When I Think of You

there is a woman sitting next to me
folding one dollar bills into paper cranes
narrow & nimble fingers
chipped black nail polish
she doesn’t care

i want that feeling — a warm stillness
when you dance with laurel crowns
while music thickens your skin

i think flowers could tumble
out of your mouth instead of words
our laughter will shape together
like a flapping bird or a gold cup

our wishes hide between our teeth
& nothing means everything
& everything means nothing

my voice drips out in gabs & cocktails
grabbing at more cocktails.

Wolves Within

It was the night you lost your cell phone.
Signals jammed & lost text messages.
I took the sweet moon water from the can
& lifted it to your lips. You said: I am
the daughter & the line of the moon. I nodded,
you are pretty in darkness. You slap
at your own ribcages when you have a
bad thought. It can’t be like the night
when you had all the boy’s blood on
your shirt. I leave my tribe buried in
your neck. It’s not that you want to die,
by the glow of moon, or sea-stars.
Still you whisper, as the wolf pack crowds:
I’m lucky, I’m lucky.

The Fool

i took a picture of myself
w/ my phone
by the sun

i studied the slope of my cheekbones
a high huntress

i walked to the window
angles of light cutting over the sill

i want, i want
i want to taste something w/ my lips

i want golden shoes
& meaningful multisyllabic words—

a phrase that cuts stone
& i want to pull open the sun

& eat white roses
& write about journeys

instead, i take a photo
& send it out into digital space

where people will say i have pretty lips
& that i am beautiful, beautiful.

No, Duct Tape Doesn’t Actually Fix Everything

The end of our conversation was so final —
a drip in a coffee cup. As a teen girl, I said
enough rosaries to be holy, even though
I’m agnostic. I held enough sage & painted
lions to be a witch. When you ask if my arm
is my arm & I say yes & if you ask if my
body is still yours to trespass, I stutter.

conversations

i never have all the answers,
but i’ll try for a glass of bourbon.

most people don’t truly want to know themselves
it is a place with rings and hollowed out memories
saint halos & angels far too deep to help.

if you grow your hair long enough, you’ll be beautiful
& please wear those cat eye glasses
people like to be reminded of an old world
they were never part of.

if you take your glasses & shimmy &
sip the drink — like i told you — i’ll tell you stories

in lands where men seek riches & fame, of course,
not without beauty or revenge
& i can take you out of this world for a second

just with poly wood and candles
with deep breathing
i’ll return you back, glittered & translucent

like skinning your knee for the first time
or holding your father’s hand.