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

Nude Woman in a Red Armchair

                                                       after Pablo Picasso

Imagine you walk in on a woman being unmade. It’s late:

you descended for a glass of water or a macaron or an excuse

to lay claim to a cold sliver of night. In front of her, an artist

preaches to a canvas. Youth is nearly ripe in her. Her hips assert

curve over the upholstery. The armchair’s dark fist rests on her thigh,

remembering some other bounty. Her face is a still lunar phase.

Child ebbs. Woman waxes. One eye understands: she is an offering.

The artist begins to erase the woman’s shoulder flinching under his hand.

Breasts embark from their perch on the canvas. Her fingers collapse

into roots. A pearl necklace floats in the sea of her absence.


Are you still watching? Her body invites glaze of paint like shroud.

You cannot see the metallic kernel of his eye. You can only see

what he lets her keep. Hair like butter. Hair like mint. Skin like

packed porcelain. Skin like bruised sky. Lilac lips. Moon rock labia.

Divisions are desirable. They are doors. Open or closed.

Maybe you wonder what she dreams. Maybe you imagine

her eyes cast toward sealed clouds, her body stretching over

the grass where the absent sea drifts and sinks upon it.

Alexandria Petrassi studies poetry in the MFA program at George Mason University. She is Editor-in-Chief at So to Speak, an intersectional feminist literary journal. She is the winner of the 2018 Mary Roberts Rhinehart Award in Poetry. Her work has appeared in CALAMITY, Crab Fat Magazine, Sweet Tree Review, The Seldom Review, on The American Writer’s Museum’s blog, and on Stillhouse Press’s blog, Moonshine Murmurs. You can find her on Instagram @alexandriapetra.

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