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

Two Coach Purses, Stolen

The purse was the object, not the violence.
An open maw that gaped, while we, away
were bridging (sea wind, slices of rain).  Or,
the purse was an open mouth gone mute, while
I walked alone (low blue sky, one hundred
one cent stamps). You came out of nowhere, or
you wove in and out of five locked cars, an
invisible thread. Each moment became
a film strip, stuttering: how did we get
here? Both occasions, the purse was returned.
Found emptied of valuables on the berm,
or tossed into the tangled wet grass.
You remained ghost shingled with should or could
a genie stitched into each leather flap.

*This poem won first Second Place in the “Poetry for Purses” Competition in honor of Kate Spade and suicide prevention.


Iris Jamahl Dunkle was the 2017-2018 Poet Laureate of Sonoma County, CA. Her poetry collections include Interrupted Geographies (Trio House Press, 2017), Gold Passage (Trio House Press, 2013), and There’s a Ghost in this Machine of Air (Word Tech, 2015). Her work has been published in Tin House, San Francisco Examiner, SWWIM, Fence, Calyx, Catamaran, Poet’s Market, Women’s Studies, and Chicago Quarterly Review. Her biography on Charmian London, Jack London's wife, will be published by University of Oklahoma Press in Spring 2020. Dunkle teaches at Napa Valley College and is the Poetry Director of the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference.

Cross Body

The Cable Car Purse