Back to Issue Twenty-One.

the other woman



When will you leave him?

           Her sweat your coronet.
                                              The body
as an assemblage of exit points.
                                   As paperweight & lever.
As secret on
            another tongue made real
                                    in lightning         -flashes
between incisors.

                        The boyfriend’s underwear
            pinned to her hips
                                   your mouth’s unwavering mark.
Time winnowing a door
                                              down to the shape
                        of two fingers
                                   held only
                                              with the raw clutch
of her body
                        keeping you inside her.
            The same grip of thief on rope
                        before it becomes
                                   the hangman’s noose:

            the moment of discovery
crystallizing into the shape
                                   of a boy’s fist. Your
            name distilled
into fling
                        also meaning fire.
is what comes
                        when a woman does not sink
            as expected.                

                        You swum through that river
when you held a girl in
                        her fiancé’s bed
                                   & allowed her to peel you
like rind of fruit
                        she could not swallow.

Her hair dark reeds
                        or river snakes.           
                                   Her wet mouth the rupture
between your name
                        & what

                                   she made you.



Wee 21

Natalie Wee is the author of Our Bodies & Other Fine Machines (Words Dance Publishing, 2016). Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Drunken Boat, PRISM International, This Magazine, and more. She has been nominated for the 2016 Best of the Net Anthology and a Pushcart Prize. Find more at

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