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

4th Century Roman Belt Ornament

Less than two inches high or wide.
Made of copper alloy and gilt, the buckle
depicts two incredible happenings.

On one side, a couple to be betrothed.
The woman’s arm extended
such that the man can grip her hand.

Each has a right foot out.
Above their heads, the Christogram
sanctifies their union in an emerging faith.

On the reverse, Bellerophon astride Pegasus
slays the Chimera with lead on his spear,
forcing it down her lion throat such that

the dragon fire she breathes will melt it,
gagging her, killing also her goat
midsection and her snake behind.

In each scene, a woman of parts is tamed.
In each scene, the divine is invoked, be it
the hovering miracle or the heroism of metal.

What was the comfort of bearing both tales
simultaneously at the belly when one must
have always remained dominant, facing out.

In this beginning, two things true and violent, one obscured.
In the beginning, one always takes and another is taken.


Rachel Mindell is a queer writer living in Tucson. She is the author of two chapbooks: Like a Teardrop and a Bullet (Dancing Girl Press) and rib and instep: honey (above/ground). Individual poems have appeared (or will) in Black Warrior Review, Denver Quarterly, DIAGRAM, Foglifter, Forklift, Ohio, The Journal, and elsewhere. She works for the University of Arizona Poetry Center and Submittable.

There comes a time

Mother