SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

Aubade with Brushfire, San Diego-Tijuana Border by Val Dering Rojas

So this is what we amount to:

a commonplace silence

and a damage that is spectacular,

the Santa Ana fueling

an obscene dawn.

Say we awoke

to the awareness

of our teeth

inside our skulls

inside our skin,

how every burning blue oak

distills to ash-leaf, 

how nature's intuition

provides for flight—

to say that there is nothing left

of us would be a lie,

but what to call everything else,

except omission? 

Right now, 100-degree heat,

and our universe is glowing.

My instinct is never reliable:

the bitter cherry


until the bitter end.

The most beautiful skies

are made from disaster,

and here I am.

Val Dering Rojas is a Los Angeles-based poet and artist who has also studied Addiction and Recovery Counseling and Psychology. Her poetry and short fiction have appeared in Dogzplot, Right Hand Pointing, Connotation Press, Arsenic Lobster, Juked and Uppagus, among others. A multiple Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, Val is also the author of the chapbooks TEN (Dancing Girl Press, 2014) and Waspfish (Glass Lyre Press, 2016).

Inset by Laurinda Lind

Our Bodies a Bulb in the Cold (A Cento) by Devon Balwitt