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

when Chen Chen tweets about deer in a poem

I think
I can’t see a deer
on a page
without bracing for impact
the word evokes
not one car crash
but two antlers
shattering windshields
in stricken moments
replicated later in a set
of vanishing headlights

one summer morning
a dear friend and I gasped
snippets of conversation
and gossip pushing our tempo
quick turnover on a shaded path
clouds of mosquitos
blocked the sun
when we startled a doe

her eyes reminded me
of the color of a totaled sedan
of the terror of waking
as glass breaks and soars
of the way winds lift
off a river the way
darknesses intertwine
creating a fragile anchor
to tether a vessel between worlds


Ray Ball grew up in a house full of snakes. She is a history professor, Pushcart-nominated poet, and editor at Alaska Women Speak. Her first chapbook, Tithe of Salt, was published by Louisiana Literature Press, and she has recent publications in Coffin Bell, Moria, and UCity Review. When she's not in the classroom, you can find her drinking bitter beverages, researching in the Spanish and Italian archives, or on Twitter.

A Moral Universe

When the famous poet's widower sidles up to you at her memorial