There was a time when I believed in you
mostly on nights when rain fell
in rows like wings tearing earth open

like an extended absence where feet
grow out of the ground like a tomato
plant, even in mid-November when

nothing is encouraged to grow, not
with this hand, responsible for
the wall between the dead and living

swans with some kind of mollusk
against your neck, hot like wax between
your open thighs, which is better

than men who are still breathing
air as if they own the right to exist
in a place where trees sometimes

grow out of albatross skulls,
once wild before the land became
a grid and I stopped believing in you

when you told me you donít know
the future but there is still your hand
inside me, and what is the age

you can give up?


Joanna C. Valente is a human who lives in Brooklyn, New York. She is the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014), The Gods Are Dead (Deadly Chaps Press, 2015), Marys of the Sea (forthcoming 2016, ELJ Publications) & Xenos (forthcoming 2017, Agape Editions). She received her MFA in writing at Sarah Lawrence College. She is also the founder of Yes, Poetry, as well as the managing editor for Luna Luna Magazine. Some of her writing has appeared in Prelude, The Atlas Review, The Feminist Wire, The Huffington Post, Columbia Journal, and elsewhere. She has lead workshops at Brooklyn Poets.