Stephanie Valente

Terrestrial Cosmos

this is when language turns rogue:
a glass splinter grows in the back of your throat.

all i know is, when it rains,
the foxes retreat & i am dew all over.

the glass shifts, i have a body
but, i don’t know what it feels like ~

just air.

Road Trip

i went to ulster county
consumed by ice

i went
to a fortune teller

she turned cards–
crushed white

we lovers stamp

out the taste
of rock candy

bitten lips,
i drank black swans

that night,

on my teeth

i wished for
ice cubes,


the psychic
all red, grabbing

my fingers,
“you are haunted
by nebulas.”

Meditating With A Ghost

i dream about dreaming:
remember when i had that phase
in which i only smoked menthols?

me too.

remember how my palms used to feel?

now, it’s just broken glass.
i write a name that isn’t mine
a hundred times over.

Dead Stars

what does it mean,
to have a space
between your thighs?

i’m pretty reckless
with my language

i don’t apologize
for wanting
tighter skin

or, enjoying
my lips
in the mirror

b/c someone
has to learn

to love &
i love

i am here
taking photos
of myself

to feel better

that could
make up a whole

i am blood
~ glass
~ water pools
~ girl things

i am something
that will mean something

when my language
returns from dead stars.


this is the way the story goes:

every night, they call an older man
& hold orbs of light

in white & gold, they draw
tiny arrows on their forearms

two girls like phases of the moon
a waxing crescent becomes a waning crescent

they ink the half-shapes under
their lips & suck on crystals

they let him watch on video
later, they speak into the phone about oblivion

maybe, they’ll give him a card
for the future of humanity

they go on like syrup:
have you ever crossed the atlantic?

sweet voices in sugar grains
like supermarket cookies, it’s all fake

& it’s smarter, to swallow
in a small voice and it will hurt less,

when you realize
that you can’t plan to live forever

& like denial, they keep beauty
in secrets & smoke

shake it over ice
because most things spoil —

i would tell you the color of their lips
but, i’ll let you use your imagination.


Stephanie Valente lives in Brooklyn, NY. She has published Hotel Ghost (Bottlecap Press, 2015) and has work included in or forthcoming from Danse Macabre, Nano Fiction, and Black Heart. She is a part time silent film star.

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