Issue 7 / Poetry

Poetry by Michelle Moore


a handwritten sympathy card, delivered to her front door. her slender hands are flaky because the sadness has aged her, not the years. the phrase “she will never be the same” is crude, but she has no desire to break the surface. she’d rather take a knife to her own brain, creating bite-sized pieces of the torment, especially for us to taste.


yesterday has remembered its weight. it stands tall, bloody and broken, but brilliantly beautiful. the strength of sorrow is remarkable, she thinks to herself. she is drunk from melancholy and stubbornness and she only drinks more, devoted to the sickness.


she cannot carry tomorrow. her only reflection is you.




you ever been to paradise?

i have


it blew my mind

sent smoke from my ears

we laid between sand and nowhere

no one asked questions

because in paradise, we knew we wouldn’t be able to stand answers

i sank to the bottom of an ocean

off the coast of beirut

and my paradise murmured:

i remember what it was like to lose you

to love you

but mostly, what it was like when i started to dream again.

and we knew nobody’s name

only smiles



i felt like a young starlet

my first taste of sweet earth

licking the fog from tomorrow,

we floated into what became peace

a death

only to be haunted by paradise.

we lay trouble down on beds of thorns

and we chant fuck paradise

our bellies are swollen with useless phrases

and saltwater

we leap from mountaintops searching for a slice

and our mothers tell us we’ve eaten it all

they tell us we’re hopeless

and i reply:

fuck paradise




love poem

and i belong to no one

but the idealist

the grown child that has learned to see

i don’t belong to you

little insect wing that grew from my backbone

purple and brittle

when you flutter,

all the children of the world sleep


and i belong to no one

but the queen of swords

in the virgin red dress

comfortably guiding me away


seven-sworded woman

one by one

she shows me the way


i belong to no one

not to the love or the hate

not to the pain

but to the freedom of the sweating new york city day

not to the restless mind

or your troubles

because i can’t even belong to mine


i rather the simplicity

or maybe the simplicity rathers me

because i can write this poem

or smoke a cigarette

make a cup of tea for my very dear friend

then learn to love again




Michelle Moore grew up in New Orleans East. Her grandfather, who wrote and recorded poetry, passed away when she was eight years old and has been visiting her dreams ever since. Michelle enjoys exploring caves, covered bridges, European metro systems and abbeys. After a few wild years in Brooklyn, Michelle is back in New Orleans. She lives with a musician, drinks blanc de blancs and listens to a lot of Michael McDonald. Selected by David Ishaya Osu.

Image  © Natasha Marin “Tuol Sleng, Cambodia”