about the author

A writer and book artist working in both text and image, Kristy Bowen is the author of a number of chapbook, zine, and artist book projects, as well as several full-length collections of poetry/prose/hybrid work, including Salvage (Black Lawrence Press, 2016) and Major Characters in Minor Films (Sundress Publications, 2015). She lives in Chicago, where she runs dancing girl press and studio.

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Two Poems  

Kristy Bowen

The pharmacist puts us inside the trunk.

Takes us out. Rakes his fingers through our hair like dolls, then smothers us with chloroform. If you love it enough, you can kill it with impunity. The box of unruly kittens. The rabbits in their filthy cage. All loved to the point of death. On the train platform, we waited for a mother who never showed. Our joints grown stiff with affection, tongues locked with disuse. How we refused the candies he offered us in their tiny lavender wrappers. Crawled into the box for the night and never crawled out. Our fingers fumbling the latches he installed in our throats.

We now come to the part of our tour where everything is on fire.

Save yourself, your children, your dead aunt’s ashes in their tiny cup. All part of the swindle. The great hustle. Now it’s burning, now it’s not. If I flare the gas lamps, we can approximate what it’s like to smolder without dying. The women flicker at the edges and go dark, while in the park across the street, the bums are starving. For a quarter, I can show you death, plump as a cockroach. You keep covering your eyes and then uncovering them. The tabloids soak with rain and your dress rips on the door nail. For a dollar, you can lie down in a dead woman’s bed and burn.

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