Portrait of Girl as Eden
I saw you breach the earth with pockmarked seeds.
You raked the leaves and chipped the roots. You tore
each rose and watered thorns. You stole my dreams,
they died on crisp white sheets. With you, I’d soar—
I once believed my gated wrists, my hips
that swayed and cracked like sugar just for you
meant love. You called it love and slit my lips
and kissed my feet. We danced in endless blue.
Now all the little beasties in my womb
are crouching, breathing fever, pelvic rust.
The marks you left—each beast, each purpling bruise,
the lists of sacred places not to touch.
Come dawn, I’m pure, I’ll drown them one by one—
I’ll hold back tears—their pulse, your breath long gone.
By Joyce Ker
Joyce Ker is a freshman at Johns Hopkins University whose poetry has appeared in TAB Journal of Poetry & Poetics, Tule Review, Louisville Review, and Boxcar Poetry Review. Her work has been recognized by the Lex Allen Literary Festival Poetry Contest, Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest, and the California Coastal Art and Poetry Contest. A California Arts Scholar and alumna of the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio, Ker has been nominated for the Best New Poets anthology and the Pushcart Prize.