Winter 2024 • Vol. XLVI No. 1 PoetryDecember 6, 2023 |

“You Know, They Used to Burn Women Like You at the Stake.” 

My therapist has studied the normal, and I have come up wanting. Wanting. My son’s first act was to crawl to my breast. To turn your head from milk is to die. My therapist waits for me to concede. I concede, “I am not normal.” Yesterday I stuffed ripe peach into my mouth until it ran down my neck. When I drink you, I drink until I choke, then drink more. My therapist warns, “They want you dead.” By “they” he means “I.” My son leaps from the couch, expecting to be caught. I have promised him everything. I lurch to him with open arms. Despite my best efforts, his skin has white cracks where it has broken and come together. My therapist smiles and waits for me to speak, but he has already told me how to be woman, which is silent, smiling back. Today they killed a student in Bangladesh for reporting her harasser. How? Kerosene, on the roof of her school. There is not enough silence for all t

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Photo of Elaine Johanson

Elaine Johanson is a Philadelphia-based writer and artist. In 2020, she published And And (Elm Twig Press), a chapbook of poems and photographs with photographer Jan C. Almquist that explores her family’s history and her own Korean identity. Her work in wheel-thrown ceramics explores lightness and balance, and this physical practice has come to inform her writing.

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By Allison Albino

My therapist has studied the normal, and I have come up wanting. Wanting. My son’s first act was to crawl to my breast. To turn your head from milk is […]

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