Two Poems by Stina French

If You Want Preserving

I’d flick the flint of my tongue on my teeth
Light my lion’s breath on fire.
Take you down the alley-cat corner of a one-sided smile,
catch you in my eye beams like a deer
in between the salt lick and
the ear twitch which says

I could see the way forward even in the dark.
I could light all your paths.

Without speaking, I could call you in or call you out.
I would not need this dictionary mouth with its saw-blade syllables,
Surgical gloves of apology for misspeaking, oversharing, being too raw or too real.

I would cut out my tongue and give it to you.
I can always grow a new one and
You wanted that salt so badly.

Here’s some on my skin.


Our Bodies, Our Selves: For the Daughters of Eve

This one’s bowels scream, “Stop telling me I’m broken!”
While another’s heart says, “I do not feel safe here inside this hummingbird chest.”

This one’s got her fist in her throat
where his was.
Coming up and out with the windpipe—
playing that slender flute for the first time in a long time.

She’s pulled the voicebox, too.
Her sister opens it, turns the tiny rusted crank.
We hear the pink ballerina of her tongue dancing free.

Listening to this, to the wail song, to the conjugated sob,
we un-lay bricks from another one’s shoulders.
And watch as her wing spread spans so many stories.

This one doesn’t tolerate stitches, so, fingers woven,
we suture her incision with the needle of not-knowing and
string made from our own guts.

This one lays her hands where that one’s son once nested
before he swept out and into a current he couldn’t control.

She pulls the red thread that says,
“Don’t hold it in, or it will break you.”

Alice really went through it, didn’t she?
The glass, I mean.

But she gave us the shards and the splinters for
diamond rings, sweet tokens.

Such shiny things.  We are not broken.


Stina French is Punch Drunk Press’s second featured writer this October. She hails from North Carolina, and if you look closely, you can still see the welts from the Bible Belt. After a stint in San Francisco, she joined the faculty of Red Rocks Community College in the Denver area. She is working on her first novel, Mistress Immaculate’s Murder Most Mildew, and has a finished hybrid/experimental collection of pieces called Hope You Like Dick: An Erotic, Creative, Choose-An-Adventure Flash Memoir. She squeals like a pig and she means it. Find her on Facebook at Stina French, Ink or at Voicing the Body: Mistress Immaculate’s Blog, to read some of her work, as well as get free writing exercises and insights on the domestic life of a polyamorous, kink-oriented mother.


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