My phlebotomist's earrings are upcycled IUDs. I want this kind of joy
for all the gear we use to manage our bodies.
Fifth grade, after school, I felt warm wet, and so undressed.
I found a mud slick on my Wednesdays.
I found my name scratched in red pen on the school's Kotex machine.
I found a kettle drum behind my sternum.
I'm taking that shame out of my body and checking it into a Quality Inn
with a Welcome Conference Attendees marquee.
Shame will stay cuffed to the bed until it learns how to be good.
I'm taking the shame out of my body
and tossing it in a lockbox with countless other useless objects:
ballet slippers, tiaras, bathroom scales. Mirrors too. Clothes one size too small.
All my self-doubt.
All the things that no longer fit. Out with the force of my heartbeat.
ABOUT THE POET
Lynne Ellis (she/they) writes in pen. Her words appear or are forthcoming in
Poetry Northwest, The Missouri Review, The Shore, Pontoon Poetry, and
elsewhere. She was awarded the 2021 Perkoff Prize in Poetry and the 2018 Red
Wheelbarrow poetry prize. Lynne's chapbook, In these failing times I can forget,
confronts the human cost of rapid growth in a prosperous American city. Ellis is
co-editor at Papeachu Press, supporting the voices of women and nonbinary
We loved reading the work that we’ve published (clearly), and we want an
opportunity to better hear our contributors. We're featuring audio recordings of
poems from our pages, read by the poet. This an open invitation to all contributors
from any of our issues, we were delighted to print your work, now we’re eager to