3rd female citizen from sunshine nation faces off with #1 light sucking demon
(excerpt from a larger work)
cannot find the right faces
she is nervous / she is housed

and couched / skirt up / ankles showing
sheforgotandwent  / swimming

the depths of turquoise / painted in her brain,
make a beeline for feet and clean 

cut out gray doormat cataracts
his dark eyes  / she sketches him first,

for posterity  / cheek bones
and workman’s boots

careful to avoid the crinkle eyes
where the lies smother
she stomps on salt
takes a whiff of warm neck,

he’s already stealing the heat between her legs
not enough to pierce an eyebrow
not enough to rent a car
peel out / scorch yearn avenue
she sings to him: I cannot tell you things
when you’ll know, you’ll know
her black fog swimming
the miniature door on his forehead opens:

a trap: closed teeth
meanwhile  / her tongue wants to torpedo rush in

400 knot speed and plain scarf choke
she tied him to the radiator 

now creates her own blush,
scratches under his chin,

no blood comes out / just squid ink
dark as a nightmare closet
her own broken capillaries
warm / unhealed / the blood

looks out through the cold
frosted windows

nowhere to run to
because when you open the window

for one fire to go out,
other fires burn the door down.


Jennifer MacBain-Stephens lives in the Midwest and is the author of three full-length poetry collections: Your Best Asset is a White Lace Dress (Yellow Chair Press, 2016), The Messenger is Already Dead (Stalking Horse Press, March 2017), and We’re Going to Need a Higher Fence tied for first place in the 2017 Lit Fest Book Competition. Her work has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. She is also the author of ten chapbooks. Recent work can be seen at or is forthcoming from The Pinch, Prelude, Cleaver, Yalobusha Review, decomp, and Nice Cage. Visit: http://jennifermacbainstephens.wordpress.com/.