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

Ordinary Psalm with Alternative Facts

Say it and it will be so.

Say there are borders that cannot be broken.

That science is an expertly shot horror film

we are wise to avoid before bed. 

Say that an executive order

has unshackled our lives from natural law,

our flesh from the entwined entire.

That, in time, we do not vanish. 

Say that the first week you know it's terminal,

I bake bread and bear it warm,

swaddled in paper towels, against my chest.

Outside, your husband picks lemons

shin-deep in a lawn gone neon-green.

In pictures above the table,

your two boys shine.  

Say that I’m not sick too

of love as the original congress on loss.

Of hope handcuffed to habeas corpus.

Say blue for your eyes, black for your hair,

wren for your twitching hand in mine.

Say that it’s not happening

so that it won’t, the world no longer turning

at the speed of betrayal, a little sunlight instead

sown across your kitchen floor.

Say that we are poised to enter spring

and in the alt-truth all around us

it's smooth sailing, easy peasy,

nothing but the blast furnaces

of the almond orchards fired up,

exploding in a sudden, ethereal snow.


Julia B. Levine’s most recent poetry collection, Small Disasters Seen in Sunlight (LSU press 2014), was awarded the 2015 Northern California Book Award in Poetry. Her awards include the Tampa Review Poetry Prize for her second collection, Ask, and the Anhinga Prize in Poetry and a bronze medal from Foreword Magazine for her first collection, Practicing for Heaven. Widely published, her work has been anthologized in many collections. She lives and works in Davis, California.

Gertrude on artum nuptias