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

Is That All There Is? by Rebecca Aronson

I used to hip-check the jukebox

when I passed it if I didn’t like the song playing;

the music would veer and skip where my curve met

the rounded corner of neon and metal. I took out Peggy Lee’s guttural whine

this way every month until they finally stopped replacing it.

I looked good in my stain-hiding brown waitress uniform,

all camber and coil, shined up with kitchen heat

and magnetic. Who wants to be reminded

magic is illusory when the dove is still flying

out of the hat with such disarming reliability?

I wanted to dance because dancing made a flame

lick at the edges of everything. Here was the secret

to living: what is dull can be polished

to a hot glow with the right friction.

What is lost can be added to the heart’s altar.

Peggy Lee wailed her faith in disappointment

but she was wrong:

even the fryer grease

which hung in the air and followed me

from work to the bar after

once made a hungry boy tell me

I smelled miraculous.


Rebecca Aronson’s books are Ghost Child of the Atalanta Bloom, winner of the 2016 Orison Books Prize, and Creature, Creature, (Main-Traveled Roads Press poetry prize). She was a recipient of a Prairie Schooner Strousse Award, the Loft’s Speakeasy Poetry Prize, and a 2018 Tennessee Williams Scholarship to Sewanee. She has poems recently in South Florida Poetry Journal, Tishman Review, and others. She is co-founder and co-host of Bad Mouth, a series of words and music.

Down Up Down by Kate Bernadette Benedict

Leather Uterus by Clara Bush Vadala