Two poems

earthquake, 160602

I only ever do what I want.
is what I tell you.
what I want is to
be an earthquake. drag
bedrock apart from itself.
for the agony and
the pleasure of it.
fires that drive
out and scorch the
slow and the ground.

I like to listen to
thunderstorms in the dark. Used
to wear a lot of eyeliner to
warn people. this guy next
to me was hit by a flying
deer, ricocheted off
the front bumper of a car
screaming past. There
was deer inside the car
leaking into wounds in
his face. I use your weight
to help me breathe, kiss hardest
when I don’t want to think.


body, 160802

I’m pretty convinced the body
is the personality.
I like to believe mine is
friendly. I like to treat my lover’s body
the way I treat mine
and to treat mine the
way I would my lover’s. a month in and
we are showering together unshy.
when I get a heat rash he takes pictures
in case it changes day-by-day. if
he didn’t care about my rash,
how could I trust him with my pleasure.
if it meant nothing to him when
I consumed purposeless poison. he says
I’d be revolutionary if I weren’t
so pretty. pretty like status symbols
in our skin and proportions.
just one person with eyeliner
raises the contrast threshold.
if coping with the world requires
you to regenerate the things that hurt you
I don’t really get it. people act like
he is the weird one because he won’t
eat french fries. they call him crazy
and don’t ask if french fries are a good
definition of sanity.


Song: All The Ways by Wet


Illustration by Nunzio Paci

Nunzio Paci is an Italian visual artist based in Bologna, working in painting and drawing. He has developed a practice concerned with scientific and environmental issues, with particular emphasis on anatomy and the man-nature relationship. His work has been exhibited throughout Europe, the US and Asia and reviewed extensively.

Susannah Betts is white, queer and 23. She lives in Rochester, NY, and edits fiction for The Fem.