"Vampire Bat" by Jenna Vélez

previously published by Vessel Press

There’s a vampire bat
Where a Bukowski bluebird should be
And it’s stuck in my left lung
Leather wings beating out the smoke
Like dust in an old rug

There’s blood where tears used to be
Droplets like berry patch on summer sheets
The same ones I burned on a funeral attire moon

There is nothing to mourn when you’re the one that died
An overdose of hard to swallow pills

You skip a day and double up on birth control
Just to throw up strawberries at four am
The taste of bile and broken promises
Of last night’s cigarette and flesh bender

It’s all red
Like Persephone gums and pomegranate teeth
Swallowed for the vampire bat in me


"Suicide King" by Jenna Vélez

You carried the king of hearts

In your wallet

Let him rest in leather blankets

Kept it on you like a picture of a girl

Let it burn a hole in your

Denim memory


My hands were cold that night

Pouring salt all over your desk

Where you kept your favorite girl parts

In drawers like baby coffins

I spilled out more salt and more prayers

Because I knew something would die here


I resurrected the suicide king

From his cardboard grave

Pulled him on deck, aboard my dreams

I never told you what I saw in that card

The way I felt a profound grief at

Your hands shaking in possession

White-knuckled around a sword

To plunge unwillingly into my temple


The royal hoarder of hearts was always destined to

Haunt you / Become you

To father your collection of spirits

Kept hostage in your room like a library mausoleum

The suicide king whispered to me that night

With a stinging voice in my salt-cured hands

That I would come to join them

Months later I know

That night

I never left