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

power ballad without the sacred

who taught the man on the bus he could pendulum
into my seat / that his hands should search for my thigh

i make excuses into the window’s eyes like maybe
under the underneath where power feeds the machine

he was cleaved too                 how he cleaves me

i like to imagine there are a few things sacred left strewn about

my knuckled keys sturdy in curved palm on the walk home
this is a night i want to survive

the weapon here also opens the door

is power like any    body
/ does it want to be held?

who taught the men i invite to rattle the wind
from my body

i’ve made the best of it
/ turning whiplash into windchimes

bells fill my home with nobody
but the safeness of sound

and never once has it been just the nameless
shadows drape the darkest from the people you trust

what’s the difference between respite
from the sun and how it’s getting a little chilly there

where can what’s cleaved also be cradle ?
i am safest                  when no one holds


nicole v basta's chapbook 'V' was chosen by Rigoberto González as the winner of The New School's Annual Contest. She is the co-founder of the Brooklyn-based arts community + performance night Say Yes (Electric Collective) that ran from 2015-2018. Recent work appears in Ninth Letter, Nat. Brut, Pinwheel, New South, and elsewhere. Find her hologram at nicolevbasta.com.

The Shoes by the Door

At the New Bedford Whaling Museum