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1 poem

by Kina Viola

Kina lives in Ithaca, NY where she co-runs the Party Fawn Reading Series and makes chapbooks for Garden-Door Press. Work has appeared or is forthcoming in Best of the Net, Small Po[r]tions, DREGINALD, Jellyfish, and other journals. She also edits chapbooks for Big Lucks Books.

Bad Blood


In my dream,

I am floating in a grey city;

a blimp hits a building &

I shelter. My ex apologizes—

“I didn’t know it was rape”—

and I cook him a hot meal.

This is one of my worst features,

to stew in hate and then give

my furrowed brow sweating,

the smell of an oven, how gas

kills slowly and silently

like dreams.


        I’ve been bleeding

                        out old blood.


After the hormones

are gone, my body flushes itself

of waste, and everything

is brown. This old blood

remembers. From how long,

I wonder. What touched you

in the night. What sludge leaking

the secrets out.


        I am horrified

in the dream, at my ability to forgive.

It’s not like that, I tell myself.

In real life, I am brave. So

we convince ourselves, we are

bigger, sharper. I say:


I feel most at home with a box cutter in hand

and nod at the line on the page. Yes.


But on the inside I’m just fluid.

On the inside, my body

betrays itself again and again

on a cellular level. I’m doubled

over in a Target bathroom wondering

why I can’t ever feel normal. I miss

my little white pills, those ghosts

of fullness. Trick my insides.


Day 13: still bleeding, still dark

waters. I miss my red, bright

bloody insides, angry

as I feel, wild & shocking.

I can’t feel anything

sometimes, or I feel

so much I break, or

when I imagine certain

faces my whole body

curves inward. This the

wretching, constant

sickness, how much

more can I lose & how

strong are the walls

that hold up my uterus,

& are they as strong

as old trees or the layers

of the earth, maybe this thing

I disdain & worship will be

my downfall: it’s all

a raging red sinkhole

at the end of the world.

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