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

America (as a Gigantic Female) by Jennifer Martelli


lay spread eagle on the sidewalk

bleeding out state after state: airless blue deep red.


(The men will come with chalk to trace her shape: white edges like hooks,

some like small penises, or a single mitten, and some crawl through the desert

and under a river.)


Three times the country screamed:

the first scream, an old car’s shrill brakes;

the second, a lovers’ spat, but the country knew the man who slapped her around, perhaps

          she asked for it;

third, could’ve been a dog in heat or in want.


And the lit windows were spaces between jack o’lantern teeth, backlit by a fat candle

nestled inside the scraped-out shell.


Honest to god, it could’ve been stopped. Rain-


storm after rainstorm barely washed the blood off this crime scene:

off the hot top, off the granite, off the pitch.



Jennifer Martelli is the author of The Uncanny Valley (Big Table Publishing Company, 2016) and My Tarantella (Bordighera Press, forthcoming). Her work has appeared in Thrush, Carve, Glass Poetry Journal, Cleaver, The Heavy Feather Review, Italian Americana, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal. Jennifer Martelli has been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net Prizes and is the recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant in Poetry. She is a book reviewer for Up the Staircase Quarterly as well as the co-curator for The Mom Egg VOX Folio.


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