Water Retention

I am sitting in a slant
of sun, but the air can’t compare
to a missing mother or father.

I can’t decide how to name
the shape of this branch;
whether to object or celebrate
its brokenness.

So I do
neither and instead
place my attention
intentionally on the balloon.
One member of the family
is blowing it up
while the other
is letting the air out
while someone hidden behind
the tree keeps repeating,
“Objects in mirror are closer
than your married name”.

But I never changed my name.
I just pretended to be married
to a swan.

My family pretended the swan
was a swamp creature.

The balloon grows into a multitude
of balloons filled with water
and seaweed
and love letters from
male depictions
of maelstrom.

He says my swan put on
so much weight, it will soon explode.


Shark Attack

Their slumber parties feature groups of best friends
cutting the heads off of balloon animals,
then cutting the heads off of best friends
behind their backs. Behind the mirror,
their knives grow bigger and bloodier
and swathed with bile instead of bioluminescence.

Isn’t it sad when you don’t get dessert
before dinner? Isn’t it disappointing when you don’t get dressed
before going out on the town?
You keep sinking down
and want others to sink down with you,
even if they drown.

They’re all chugging seaweed,
trying to create a new dance move while gagging
on high hopes. Swimsuit issues are loaded
with models with their eyes cut out.
Don’t even get them started on the porn.
A healthy dose of splatter paint starts on fire.

The only real woman emerges from her own
underground lair and uplifts the seaweed
into special energy drinks for those who want to rise
above the choking. Do you? Do I?

When I was a teen I thought
I liked to choke on his stuff. But as I grow
older and wiser I walk the widdershins,
ambulate a path of trees with no dick
for me to do anything I don’t want to do
with my own hands. Someone always wants to

cut my hands off, but the sea does not
just involve drowning. Starfish arms can regenerate.
Sponges can be divided. Do you choose to
sink or float? Do you choose shark tooth or fin?

Do you know how to stop biting other people?


j/j hastain is a collaborator, writer and maker of things. j/j performs ceremonial gore. Chasing and courting the animate and potentially enlivening decay that exists between seer and singer, j/j hopes to make the god/dess of stone moan and nod deeply through the waxing and waning seasons of the moon.

Juliet Cook is a grotesque glitter witch medusa hybrid brimming with black, grey, silver, purple, and dark red explosions. She is drawn to poetry, abstract visual art, and other forms of expression. Her poetry has appeared in a peculiar multitude of literary publications. You can find out more at http://www.JulietCook.weebly.com.