How to Be

A needle and thread:

Imagine yourself in your hand,

loving what you want to mend. That’s easy.

What’s hard is pulling yourself through.


A mirror:

Be a backwards Susanna. Watch old men stroke

their beards while you bathe. Learn to love them.

They are your wet nurse, your supple, your seethe.


An ecstatic:

Hold the storm to your belly, feel it

sizzle and rupture like the first man you loved.

Returning, tell the sky what you’ve proved.


The wolf:

Learn what it’s like to give birth in the snow,

lap placenta from fur, feel five sets of teeth pull

at your teats. Carry always that hunger.


A riddle:

Be your own bride. Speak tenderly

to your shyness. Touch the shivering breast.

That’s your answer, your tryst.


A closed curtain:

Remember the first time you bled.

How, after that, you tried to keep everything in.

What you hide is shame and desire, its twin.


A palimpsest:

Be enamored by the promise of skin.

Like a tyrant, let someone else stroke your fear.

Part your knees. There’s salvation here.

Rebecca Cross

Rebecca Cross has an MA in creative and critical writing from the University of Sussex. She works as an editor in New England, where she lives with her partner and one very spoiled cat. Her work has appeared in The Woven Tale Press, Always Crashing, Breath and Shadow, Monstering, and other publications.

Contributions by Rebecca Cross