Poetry Suite by Adira Bennett

Editor Sam Preminger, Poetry, October 8th, 2018

"girl survives, seeks grace."


Poetry by Adira Bennett.

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You are the slaughtered lamb’s bone

caught in my windpipe. You are the reason I

strip my spine from the muscle of my back each

morning and wrap its chain round my knuckles,

knot the cord round my throat. You are slices of

strangers’ bodies: hairs on the back of a hand,


gut puffing over a meticulously shined black leather

belt. You are the hackle of the axe splitting green girl-

wood; you are the army of painted lead toy soldiers in

the pockets of all my coats. You are the broken-open

pomegranate staining my sheets and the ruby


seeds I pick from between my lover’s teeth.

You are not my hunger, but you are the plate

of rice and beans, cold and gummy, uneaten.

You are my belly gorged on blood and silence.


You are on the other side of every shower

curtain and night-black window, saying, “I will

always be here.”

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Come on, baby. Stroke my big, fat

ego. Suck my sins. Swallow that

shame. You like how that tastes,

don’t you? Don’t you talk back.

Talk dirty. Tell me who’s your

God. Make me believe. Make me

comfortable, commendable. Eat my

insecurities. Lick them dry. Lick my

wounds. Fix them. Fuck me,

fear me. Tell me how big my

power is. Get on your knees and

pray to me. Make me important.

Good girl. I want you to call me

blameless, call me justified, call me

complete. Tell me you like it.

Call me baby. Take care of me.

Heal me. Cure me. Blow me

out of proportion, into a man

beyond men; a man who people

surrender to with open legs, shaking

like homeless dogs. I am shaking

but it’s a secret. This is our secret, so

swallow that shame until it’s gone.

Swallow my shame. Tell me

it was yours all along.

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I couldn’t keep it inside myself anymore, so I

punched a hole in my skull and drained the pus


and blood of it into a jar. When the jar began


to rattle and crack, I wrapped it in duct tape, but


I should’ve known: it burst. I couldn’t wash its stains

out of my dress. My mother stopped speaking to me.


And so I gave up on taming it. It settled to sleep under

my pillow, soon sprouted babies from its sides that


crawled into my shoes and pockets like slugs. It


grew and grew. Now, it keeps me in a jar. Carries me


in its satchel from place to place. Some days, I crash

my knuckles to the glass until they split and bleed.

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I. A hundred men split

her hips, until the place

between becomes a pink

scar. She paints her eyes

back into her head each

morning. Goes to school

and keeps her skinny

thighs locked, loses her

fingers like flower petals,

next her arms. Tender

green wood gone hard

shell. Lacquered. Hollow.

When you click her halves

together, you can’t even

see the parting to pick

open with your fingernail.


II. She is under her mother’s

desk; a furtive and fierce

foxchild with a Barbie doll

in her paw. In her dark

den, she peels Barbie free

of clothes and scrabbles

at the blank plastic between

her legs, twists her limbs

into twine, spits into the

staticky plastic hair: you’re

a dirty little whore and

dirty little whores get

what they deserve.


III. She swears

she will never

give birth

to a daughter.

Won’t even

plant a garden.

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My outside isn’t open

anymore. Cells stitching

into scars interlock

their tiny fingers; prickle


like freezer burn. I am

a museum. This is how

the body heals. This

is how deeply atoms ache


to encompass one another,

how deeply humans ache

to be encompassed,

how the compass


needle tattoos one

who is lost. I am

a museum, but not

an exhibitionist, not a ticket


seller, not a woman standing

at her own door to ask

for donations.

There is no café.


There is no gift shop.

I am the artifacts.

There is no main office.

I am the curator. I am


a museum. This is how

the body heals, how

girl remembers, girl

survives, seeks grace.

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girl’s fault because “keep your knees together” (Judge Michael J. Savage)

girl’s fault because girls should “adjust to their environment so that they don’t provoke

people into committing unwanted acts” (Governor Fauzi Bowo)

girl’s fault because “because the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him

remove them… and by removing the jeans… it was no longer rape but consensual

sex” (Italian Supreme Court)

girl’s fault because “a drunk can consent” (Justice Greg Lenehan)

girl’s fault because girl met her rapist under “inviting circumstances” (Justice Robert Dewar)

girl’s fault because “wasn’t she saying, ‘Come into my parlor, said the spider to the

fly?'” (defense attorney Steve Taylor)

girl’s fault because “if you wouldn’t have been there that night, none of this would have

happened to you” (Judge Jacqueline Hatch)

girl’s fault because if girl “doesn’t want to have sexual intercourse, the body shuts

down” (Judge Derek Johnson)

girl’s fault because “it appears that she was inherently abnormal and had sexual instinct

from her childhood” (Justice Sadhana Jadhav)

girl’s fault because girl “was probably as much in control of the situation as was the

defendant” (Judge G. Todd Baugh)

girl’s fault because rapist “is an extraordinarily good man” (Judge Thomas Low)

girl’s fault because girl “wasn’t the victim she claimed to be” (Judge Jeanine Howards)

girl’s fault because girl

girl’s fault because

girl’s fault





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Header image courtesy of Cristina Troufa. To view her Artist Feature, go here.

Adira Bennett (pen name of E.K.) is an independent artist/writer living in New York City. She is currently studying forensic science at a criminal justice college, and she hopes to have one day petted every dog in the world. She can be reached via her personal website (adirabennett.com), and you can follow her on Tumblr (adirabennett.tumblr.com), Instagram (@adirabennett), and Patreon (patreon.com/adirabennett).


Sam Preminger

Sam Preminger is a Portland-based poet. Their work has appeared throughout various publications and they hold an MFA from Pacific University.