Some bitch like me sets the fi re, cranks
the heat, burns the toast, swallows the flare.
The flowerpots and front lawns blaze
one little fire at a time. Flames sprout
from the gardens on Hanover Street.
Yellow fires and red fires and motherfuckers
drive trucks that are on fire. The chicken hut,
gas station, post office, and the neighbors: all on fire.
When the train passes through this neighborhood of flames
a gust of wind knocks over the bitch who lit the first match.
Her fire burns on fear. Pretty soon the black sky
swirls in fl ames and the clouds shrivel up,
dry out, and drop like dog shit
to the sides of the streets and highways
where heroin addicts are left for dead, where farmers
grow lettuce and trade sheep for shoelaces and guns,
where starving cows are auctioned
and eaten alive, and the people
confuse women for beef and love for needles.
Nicole Santalucia is the author of Because I Did Not Die (Bordighera Press) and Spoiled Meat (Headmistress Press). She is a recipient of the Charlotte Mew Chapbook Prize and the Edna St. Vincent Millay Poetry Prize. Her non-fiction and poetry have appeared in publications such as The Best American Poetry 2019, The Cincinnati Review, TINGE, Zócalo Public Square, The Seventh Wave, Gertrude, Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. Santalucia teaches at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania and has taught poetry workshops in the Cumberland County Prison, Shippensburg Public Library, Boys & Girls Clubs, and nursing homes. She lives in conservative-small-town Pennsylvania with her wife.
Nilsa Rivera writes about gender and diversity issues. Nilsa Rivera’s the Managing Editor of The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications. Her work appeared in the Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens Literary Journal, Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, and Selkie Literary Magazine. She lives in Riverview, Florida with her multi-species family.