Dead Girls

There are three girls: one is in the back seat twisting her hair
into a grenade. She is a girl you consider marrying.
The other girls are wearing suede; they are slippery as fish
no ocean for a home, just a pail on ice.
They watch things fall apart & suck on cigarettes.
It makes them taste. What radiance, yellow teeth.
Bless their makeup, their false eyelashes, their lipliner.
Radio sounds come on, water bottles crinkle & that’s when
they see it. It crosses the street like no one is coming—
they forget to stop.
There are three sisters: one is broken ribs, swollen face.
The others are ruined lips, crushed spines, splintered hands.
They are unrecognizable & depending on who you ask,
they say they deserved it.

Joanna C. Valente is sometimes a mermaid and sometimes a human. She is the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014) and received her MFA at Sarah Lawrence College. Some of her work appears, or is forthcoming, in The Huffington Post, Columbia Journal, Similar Peaks, The Paris-American, The Atlas Review, among others. In 2011, she received the American Society of Poet’s Prize. She founded Yes, Poetry in 2010, and is the Managing Editor for Luna Luna Magazine. Her ghost resides here: