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

Cento for Sincerity (and all the other shit ppl disrespect) by Ashley Porras


What I hope (when I hope) is that we’ll see each other again,

but you would never accept a voice like mine—you said I could have

anything I wanted, but I just couldn’t say it out loud.

There were (for example) months when I seemed only to displease,

frustrate, disappoint you—; so much light pulled off course. What month

was that in? What did you want from me? Actually, you said, Love, for you

—it’s like a religion. It’s terrifying. No one will ever want to sleep with you. 

How one walks through the world. Endless small adjustments of balance,

filled with endless distances (Longing, they say), the shifting weights

of beautiful things, the objects you busily name. One must have a mind of winter

to regard the frost; and have been cold a long time between the ribs

or where the dusk waits. It is a grace to be a watcher on such a scene,

from where even watching is an anachronism. It existed. It existed

[on a vine that grows up trees]. Perhaps there is a life here of not being afraid

of your own heart beating, for I too am half-spun

wishing you all the aloneness you hunger for. So much light

pulled off course. For even the Gods misuse the unfolding blue. Who’d believe

that what ends here. Continues. So much light. It’s senseless—useless

-ness is the last form love takes and yesterday

is gone. And I’ve had nothing to do with it.



In order of appearance: Bidart, Gluck, Siken, Bidart, F. Wright, Dimitrov, Siken, Scarry, Hass, Scarry, Gluck, Stevens, Dimitrov, C. Wright, Graham, Bidart, Sappho [trans. Carson], Mayer, Griffiths, F. Wright, Sealey, Dimitrov, F. Wright, Dimitrov, Graham, Kahn



Ashley Porras is a Latinx, Canadian poet raised in Bethany, OK. She lives in Cambridge, MA, where she is a researcher working with a team to gene edit immune cells in the body to make them able to attack cancers specifically. Her poetic work can be found in The Wellesley Review, Dash Literary Journal, and The Adroit Journal. Ashley attended Wellesley College, where she studied History.


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