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

Blood Orange by M.J. Arlett


Marion says the juice is bloody because fruit are always girls.

This seems untrue, but... okay, whatever.

We three walk from school along the beach, shoeless and giggling.


Lorena forgot her keys. Lorena often forgets her keys,

sits outside her gated house, scratches the dog’s nose through a gap

in the fence. Braced teeth, matching skirts swinging,


we wedge ourselves between the garden wall and a palm tree,

shimmy up, over, and cast ourselves adrift

into the pool.


Blue and green tartan blooming around our waists,

white shirts clinging like vines to budding fruit.

Summer is opening like the thick tongues of calla lilies

which means this is the end of something.

We float in chlorine sky. The white dog yips at passersby

through the brick because that’s what bitches do.


We hold hands and form the center of our own universe.

Our dark hair interlaces. None of us are rubia, none of us catch

that laced word thrown from car windows.


At school, Don Carlos and Miss Carmen titter between classes,

insist they are the best of friends, only. We float, heads together—celestial.

Marion’s tennis teacher trains her serve insistently,


until her mother buys her a better fitting sports bra.

The sun touches what it can. Home from work, Lorena’s father

puts glasses of orange juice


on the patio table, fights the rising blood in his cheeks,

goes inside without a word. We drink the redness. We float,

squint back at the sky’s globe.


M. J. Arlett was born in the UK, grew up in Spain, and now lives in Texas where she is pursuing her PhD. She is an editor at the Plath Poetry Project and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in B O D Y, The Boiler, Lunch Ticket, Mud Season Review, Ninth Letter, Poet Lore, Rust + Moth, and elsewhere. 

My father has never made an effort to memorize how my name is spelled by Elisabeth Blair

Scenario 1, Exercise 1 by Megan McHugh