• Neon Mariposa Magazine

Three Poems by Alyssa Hanna

Updated: May 8, 2019

the night you tried to romance me by turning me into a dried butterfly

this is the first time i’ve ever spoken

about you, and it will always be the last

because this, at least, i remember.

i couldn’t say if you were a before or an after

but i still shiver those fingers. that chest.

the lean muscles pressing me on dirty sheets

assuring me my desires were waterfalls, apparent and yours.

sloppy. back-alley whiskey kisses; your teeth

never knew how to yield to your tongue.

i will never know what possessed me

the nights you smiled, but i recall being

pinned, my mouth open but trying to close,

the words you’re taking advantage of me leaving

my lips only for you to swallow them whole,

taste your fingers before sliding through lace—

maybe, but it’s not like you’re doing your best

to fight back.

the science of skinned knees

the pickling fluid i keep is not

for preserving biological specimens that have died

of natural causes

but for the ache found beneath

a tablecloth

hiding my knees because i know they will ask questions

at dinnertime

vitamin e is good for scars but it is not

a replacement for


or not getting a wound in the first place

in which i wonder if my father prefers shaken over stirred

what is the preference of my father?

wine makes me sick and tequila makes me faint

they say we are born bloodless

that the empty veins need

to be filled with a family’s tradition

in its own liquid form

a testament or sacrament

bottled and fermented in the basement of a cathedral

i picture him an italian catholic

crossing himself twice a year

maybe one extra time when aries season

comes along with its wind

when it comes with nails stuck in wrists

pinned to the memory of a birth in a blizzard

an april that brought no showers or flowers

except maybe the showers of placenta and

the cracked skin of

an absent father

an artery full of vodka

but aorta full of pulse

alyssa hanna's poems have appeared in Reed Magazine, The Mid-American Review, The Naugatuck River Review, Rust + Moth, Pidgeonholes, and others. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, a finalist in the 2017 James Wright Poetry Competition, and a semi-finalist for The Hellebore scholarship. alyssa is a Contributing Editor at Barren Magazine and an aquarium technician in Westchester, living with her four weird lizards. follow her @alyssawaking on twitter, instagram, ko-fi, tumblr, and patreon.


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