The Secret of Me

Slick are you as the water

beneath the bridge

Import, of course,

wheels glide over concrete,

speed climbing,

a floating road,

a diving bird

I slide closer,

thighs against leather,

seatbelt off,





At the bar,


one drink,

then two,

then, too many to count

The burn of carpet,


against my back,

sticky thoughts slow

my tongue

“Shh…” you say

The secret of me,

a crushed cigarette in an empty ashtray

A carcass sits beside me,

mildew creeps from the carpet

into my bones,

with everything sinking,

I grab hold,

in a reedy voice, courage speaks,

the sound, barely a whisper

“Shh…” you say

The secret of me,

black ink blotting pristine paper

In a building with cracked

bells and blank walls

I float in,

an invisible silk dress

unfit for any occasion

Later, buttercream sours

my tongue

Later, whiskey burns

your breath

“Shh…” you say

The secret of me,

a torn dress worn by a favorite doll

My end rolls in as a cloud of dust

from beneath the door,

a broken promise served

in a broken glass

“Shh…” you say,

The secret of me,

a shadow you never thought to consider

VA lives outside Seattle, WA, with her human and animal family. Her work has appeared in The Lake, 34th Parallel Magazine, Sad Girls Literary Magazine, Ignatian Literary Magazine, OJA & L Magazine, Front Porch Review, and Five on the Fifth, and Panoplyzine Magazine as the Editors’ Poem of Choice. She has work forthcoming in Crab Creek Review, Luminal Journal, Spry, and Figwort. You can find her on Instagram at @vawiswell and