Dean Symmonds

alternate names for crazy queer girls

after Danez Smith

1. heat lightning churning in midnight’s gut
2. copper-laced kisses in garages, school bathrooms, dreams
3. pomegranate chapstick smudged on sweet teeth
4. choked-back windchime laughter
5. gods of violets rooted in graveyard dirt
6. shame like lead lacquer dripping off your tongue
7. coughing up boys’ knuckle rings for breakfast
8. father’s worst fear
9. wedding veil buried in a backyard fire pit
10. life expectancy of 30
11. the most popular porn search in america
12. misnamed headstones
13. mother’s mistake
14. six feet under your girlfriend
15. confused fire that escapes the hearth and scorches the home
16. snowmelt rivers bloated with dark, dark hair
17. rapemeat for ash-mouthed boyfriends
18. a horde of star-shimmer girls who stick knives in their bellies before the boys next door can, root around until they hear clink of stone on metal, dig a river rock out of the viscera, name it terror, name it hope, name it accursed, name it love, name it after themselves and either bury it in the yard, knowing its liquid lead will crawl into their water tanks anyway, or swallow it whole.


go get dead, angel face

tenderfooted, i chop wood at midnight,
cleaving bark from tinder like flesh
from back. you, hardy man, you.
girl-beguiler. gold-bragger. hands
as cold as this axe. shoulders
so broad, a doe could lay herself
and her fawns between them,
velvet-antlered and dreaming
on a bed of moss and ribcage.
you and your quiet eyes
de-witched me: i put away
my cast-iron for you; forgot
the moon’s language; burned
all my effigies in one pit;
buried my silver knives out back
like limp dogs or dead children.
i’d named them, too. daddy—
titan—you’re just too big to fall
at the hands of girl-children;
know all our canary-voiced ways.
you threw my shoes on the fire
so i could only walk between the bed-
room and the porch. sweet-god,
you raised a woman, a witch. i crawled
on my hexed knees to the woodpile, hefted
your axe, and started swinging: a practice,
a relearning. at dawn, i will lay the blade
at your throat. i will spit your last rites
in my witches’ tongue. the sun will rise early,
just for me.

Dean Symmonds is a Southern lesbian poet. Ze works as a Poetry Editor at Persephone's Daughters. Zir poems have been published in magazines like Monstering, Crab Fat Magazine, Gravel, and The Album, and are forthcoming from Lavender Review and Bad Pony Magazine. You can find zem on Twitter @poetpersephone. 

JD Thornton