“Chapel of Sacred Mirrors” – Poetry by Joanna C. Valente

Cosmic Energy - Remedios Varo, circa 1956
Cosmic Energy – Remedios Varo, circa 1956

If you’re ravenous for a taste of FLAPPERHOUSE #8, check out “Chapel of Sacred Mirrors” below, one of five spellbinding poems by Joanna C. Valente in our forthcoming Winter 2016 issue.

To read the rest of Joanna’s contributions to our weird little zine, you could pre-order a digital (PDF) copy for $3US and it will fly into your emailbox by the Winter Solstice. And if you’ll be in the NYC area on January 6, you can come see Joanna read some of her work, along with many other very flappy writers, at FLAPPERHOUSE Reading #5 / Issue #8 Flight Party!

{ X }

WHEN YOU ARE FOUR YEARS OLD, you still fit in the crawl
spaces of your first house and feel the world as too big

and long for a lack of space, an end to absence
like the glue sticks that never stick the red heart

to the white letter paper from a forest
that doesn’t exist and no one worries about

where bears skin old women alive before
lighting candles pink as their necks

before the sounds they make being shoved
against a wall, choking—a  violin underwater

all alone like a body is a letter you rip
open—neither look pretty when you rip its seams

apart, find clumps like hair inside a medicine
bottle with random letters smudged off

by touch—can’t remember whose, doesn’t
matter because I’m drunk and there’s nothing

inside my body to hear except swans
eating the hearts of their mates after they make

love, mistaking veins for birthday candles
on top of cakes dreamt up by humans who still

love each other—if they realized their eventual

fate is to be dead forever, would they even
bother to begin with?

{ X }

joannavalente_bwJOANNA C. VALENTE is sometimes a mermaid and sometimes a human. She is the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014) and The Gods Are Dead (Deadly Chaps Press), and received her MFA at Sarah Lawrence College. Her collection Marys of the Sea is forthcoming from ELJ Publications in 2016. Some of her work appears in The Huffington Post, Columbia Journal, The Atlas Review, The Destroyer, among others. In 2011, she received the American Society of Poet’s Prize. She edits Yes, Poetry, and is the Managing Editor for Luna Luna Magazine.

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