Poetry Suite by Danielle Mitchell

Editor Carrie Ivy, Poetry, December 20th, 2016

"...the glass ceiling we dance on top of, to be discredited as an upskirt."

Danielle Mitchell Poetry Nailed


Define Girl


She stacks books on a nightstand to test
the camera for height & angle. Light

seeps through the curtain as if the sun
at the window were tapping the glass,

flurrying against the pane like snow.

She uses the warning her body
has become like a dozen snap-
shots of a sparkler in the dark

drawing in her limbs with fire,

each curve of her hips catching
some of its scorch. If there is a god of girls,
it has already devoured her whole

& left the body for this danger. Her hands
shadow across everything she touches:

the tips of her nipples, the shoulder’s
ridge & blade of the pelvis. Listen,

one earth breaks at her navel

& turns it to gloss, the other travels,
thick as lava, down her inner thighs

& that beating brick, cracked open
gives us the definition of loss.

+ + +

TIME Magazine Bans the Word “Feminist”


November 12, 2014

Tell me all the words you hate.
Let’s practice their assonance,
let’s pretend they don’t all originate near
your hatred of women: Fetus, squirt,
viscous, panties—but not cunts, because
cunts are sweet. It begins as a cue card on the
TIME magazine tried to ban the word
& succeeded. Then apologized with
“We regret you lost the nuance of our debate.”
The managing editor too deeply entrenched
in misogyny to recognize it smeared
on her front page. Then the metaphor
for the pussy—an open wound. Then
a woman in Iowa accused of homicide
for falling down stairs while pregnant
& the glass ceiling we dance
on top of, to be discredited as an upskirt.
Then the proof she was asking for it.
& football. & the poems she didn’t write
until 1960 because she didn’t have the brains
or the nerve. Tell me about the “distraction”
of equality. The way it clogs in the throat.
Its smear, its dripping, chunky, secretions—
which are all the ways our language
disguises woman. Disgusting, but dull.
Faceless but covered in cream. Without
harmony, willing, but also absurd. Tell me
again how hard you want to banish her.

+ + +

Alfie Darwood


It’s a Sunday afternoon when asks my middle name, offers it as consolation, as surrender for the work I’ve done & I know he is afraid. Hasn’t noticed yet the similarity between his friend’s joke formula for a porn star name—your first pet + birth street—& the way his help drops fat from his lips like a pout. The difference between men & women slouches between us & the drizzle & gin. So this is what my body does. We are both uncomfortable. We are both contemplating my pussy in public. Maybe he thinks I’ll be mistreated in bars. Or classrooms. Maybe he suffers at the thought of his daughter damaged & abandon. Or in love. She is turning 12 soon & the world is skirting her like static on a balloon. He is not wrong to worry for us. The difference between men & women is how the world clings & wants to make her embarrassed. There is no running from your name I want to say. Will it hurt? I want to know. Were you the right person to tell? We let our drinks sweat in the DJ neglected room. Finally, he speaks: Is this a thing you can really do? & suddenly, yes. Suddenly, me; I’m just the kind of woman who can live outside her body, a fancy apparatus for hanging shame. Or some cargo that the body passes on its way to somewhere warm. I’m waving a flag as it crosses. The signs behind me say Farewell. Bon Voyage. I’m a dirty whore. My middle name is Delores.

+ + +



like the shape in the garment once
a piece has been cut away, she
is still there, but also not.
She is still stalked, but also safe
according to the general rule
that who trolls are & what they do
are compartmentalized. Like the arsonist
& his arson, but not like the rapist
& his rape. She is just a hole now.
A hole with its girl ripped out.

+ + +

Header image courtesy of Nate Margolis. To view his photo essay, “Hushed,” go here.

Danielle Mitchell Poetry NailedDanielle Mitchell is author of the chapbook Makes the Daughter-in-Law Cry (Tebot Bach), winner of the 2015 Clockwise Prize. Her poems have appeared in journals such as Eleven Eleven, Harpur Palate, Four Way Review, and Stirring. Danielle is a member of the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley and founding director of The Poetry Lab in Long Beach, California. For more information visit her, here.


Carrie Ivy

Carrie Ivy (formerly Carrie Seitzinger) is Editor-in-Cheif and Co-Publisher of NAILED. She is the author of the book, Fall Ill Medicine, which was named a 2013 Finalist for the Oregon Book Award. Ivy is also Co-Publisher of Small Doggies Press.