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

Self Portrait as Mermaid Midge Barbie by Alyse Bensel

My elbows are unable to bend, shoulders over

rotated. Dislocated. As Barbie’s third-closest friend

 

I couldn’t cut the rebranding. I compared waists:

mine a little thicker. A tight-lipped smile. Perpetual

 

-ly holding my breath. Apply too much pressure

and my arms snap right off. But I’m still more popular

 

than porcelain dolls. Here’s the difference: you can

find me in the trash with my cheeks in one piece,

 

my jeweled hair, tinged chlorine green,

smudged with gum. A midge fly, a beauty queen.

 

All I know is that there is a body. I must be moved

to act. My drowning is in hypotheticals. The girl

 

knows the motive. I know the murder.


Alyse Bensel’s recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Pleiades, South Dakota Review, Puerto del Sol, West Branch and elsewhere. The author of two chapbooks, Not of Their Own Making (dancing girl press) and Shift (Plan B Press), she serves as the Book Reviews Editor at The Los Angeles Review. Starting this fall, she will be assistant professor of English at Brevard College, where she will direct the Looking Glass Rock Writers’ Conference.

Delivery by Siham Karami

Pomegranate Heart by Stephanie Tom