photo of woman breathing fire

Three Poems by Heather Bell

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Things I Find Offensive

The sweet onions of your balls
in another woman’s mouth.
The broken keys of your piano,
outside of my house, a sort of

message. The way you claim
to be married, but you are wild,

sea floor body at my feet.

I ask you who needs love
when there is the oyster

cracker in your laughter?

I drink a little too much and

see myself as if I am a cremation
tank: you, dangling at the top,

and me, fully alive and ready to

Pen The Animal In

I begin to wonder why
people still believe in God
after He so clearly
does not believe in them.
Theresa, her hair in little

waves, a ghost.  Adelaide,
cooking bathtub gin alone,

seems that her dress is
floating her away.  Michael,

I savor the last word you speak,

but there is incense there too,
as though we are standing
together at a funeral.

God, caked with mud and dung,
sinking into something larger
than us.

His melon-head

peeking, black tufts of
flies around his ears like
sideburns.   And me,

heavier, sadder.  My
many whale’s teeth biting
into the belt of my life to keep

from screaming.  God looked
down at us for a little while,
like all of us watching our
feet as we walk, full
of grief.  But soon, he

looked up.  Like all of us,
he looked up.

List Of Demands

1.  A naked stockholder, a grass snake.
The way he presses into the room
as if he is too big for it.

2.  The cross-hatched scars on my belly
while I wear a bikini.  The horrified looks.
The dead baby story.  My knuckles, fresh
from a fight.

3.  A bird, roused from its nest by raw
meat and a martini.

4.  Nancy Pelosi, dead on the pavement.
Very primal.  Very aboriginal.  Very Britney Spears.
The lemon wedge of her wig crooked, blood
around the fake hairline.

5.  Cresting your cock.  Using a rooster
in bed.  Shoving.

6.  Skinning a child, wearing a child as
a helmet, entering the mine shaft that
I am so afraid of.

7.  The isolated cry of a human being,
secured in a pickle jar.  Holes poked
in the lid for air.

8.  The way you bend in bed, the
barbed wire of your spine, the
distrust stuck between your eyes.

9.  Not resting on laurels, but
dancing on them as if they were
grapes.  Crushing and wet.

10.  The letter you sent me.  The
letter I then sent to the news station
after you wrote your first book.
Beginning with “Deer one,” and ending
with “I thik we shud see ohter peepul.”

11.  One crystal glass on the windowsill
filled with hundred-dollar bills and condoms.

12.  Standing on the roadside, picked
up by a trucker who smiles too much.
Falling in love backwards: on my back
always, looking away.

Heather Bell‘s work has been published in Rattle, Grasslimb, Barnwood, Poets/Artists, Third Wednesday, and many others. She was nominated for the 2009, 2010, and 2011 Pushcart Prize from Rattle and also won the New Letters 2009 Poetry Prize. Heather has also published four books. More details can be found here:

Lead image“The Burning Underground 11” (via Flickr user Regan)