WHO ARE ALL THE DEAD PEOPLE

I’D BE FRIENDS WITH

JOANNA VALENTE

We walk around with no clothes on
a car, ride alone into whitewashed
road, lit by night and there is no one
to call you darling at the end

and the lights are all green and we steal

of it all. Our skulls are the same—

driving in cars feels like a new body,
new dimension to fuck up. A woman
like you once said I leave men like

firewood to burn. You want me
to tell you the worst thing
in the world:

Gone, I say and you’ve been out
with men who’ve possessed
their dead, stillborn

in water warmer than leftover
urine—women like me don’t always
die pricked by a hot needle,

threaded into a candy so sweet
it tastes like a prison
where bodies aren’t thought of

anymore than wingless
birds raging at the sun
year after year after year

for a legacy’s legacy, and it’s not
life I can’t stand, it’s those
unnameable men.

JOANNA 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 Huffington Post, Columbia Journal, and elsewhere. She teaches workshops at Brooklyn Poets.