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Not Quite Bloodstains

by Arianna Monet

Not Quite Bloodstains​

it has taken me two years to transubstantiate you into something without thorns.

an echo. a scar.

the crimson aftertaste of grapevine and memory.


i have never liked the taste of red wine

but now even the color burgundy tastes like anthocyanins and neglect


the wineglass curve of your name leaves a trail of tannins on my tongue 

bittersweet and gently toxic.


in the wrong light

sangria stains an awful lot like blood. 


and you’ve left ruby fingerprints on my sheets

left them on my pillowcase next to the smudges from my lipstick

dipped a roller in merlot and painted the walls of my bedroom


i couldn’t complain because

girls like me

should know better than to have white bedding.


i flipped through an assortment of purple-red flags

like color swatches in a Home Depot

took scissors to the ones i liked best

and used them to wallpaper my living room

so everyone could see how much i loved you


never mind that the floor was littered with broken promises

and broken glass – 

call it a mosaic.


i flipped through a collection of purple-red flags

like rolls of fabric in a craft store

took scissors to the ones i liked best

cut them into glossy ribbons and wore them in my hair,

so everyone could see how much i loved you


never mind the glinting shards of bottle

that got caught in my curls – 

i always did love glitter.


i used to have fever dreams about the

version of you who lived at the bottom of a wine bottle,

a monster’s lullaby,

and how you came when she called you, every time.


i had dreams about

the nightmare singing to you from the bottom of every wine bottle,

wrote half-poems about how terribly i wished the bitch would drown down there

and what a shame it was that sirens could swim.

introspection in shea butter

by Arianna Monet

introspection in shea butter

I am melting / a scoop of shea butter / in the palm of my hand / and reading the                      

label while I wait. / I have always laughed / in the face of the word // “dime-sized”// And I think that maybe / having 4C hair was my earliest lesson / in self-determination. / In ignoring other people’s / judgments / of how much I am // supposed // to need. / Maybe this is how / I taught myself / to claim / a little extra / and then a handful more than that. / Maybe this / is how I learned / to grant myself / abundance. / Maybe / the melting is an exercise / on the value of my own / warmth. / I rub the oil into / an opinionated thicket / of curls. / Anoint myself queen / of my own understanding. / I wipe my hands clean of the extra / butter / by massaging it into the cinnamon / of my chest and shoulders / and leave the mirror,                       

                                                   g l o w i n g.

Queer Issue Contributor Photo.jpg

Arianna Monet

Arianna Monet (she/her) is a queer Black femme and marigold enthusiast living in Boston, Massachusetts (on Wampanoag land).  She believes strongly in pigtail buns, strawberry milkshakes, and aquarium half-light.  When she is not hiding in a library to work on her next degree, catch her cooing loudly at the nearest puppy, wearing her mother’s wedding ring, and ordering dessert before dinner at every restaurant.

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