Fatima Espiritu


She seems the type.

Tied to a few empty spaces, torso
straining, few reds trailing, an axe

-hover over the ropes, loud something
like permission. She told a joke once

at a party; a partygoer responded hook line
& sinker; I gathered
fistfuls of shirt, clenched teeth, hissed Don’t you


I feed her soup and bathe her, give
her one of those umbrellas
that comes down to the shoulders,
despise baptisms and most
dramatic climaxes in most dramatic musicals.

My labor sips itself

in cupboards, crawls

under floorboards, grins
with the woodlice. Do you hear that?

She says. I do not
look up, afraid for shells.


Glory to the javelin in its upward.
Glory to the oil, this skin that resists.


Doors; she smells like dried salt. I mouth
her arms, afraid I could look

too like a salmon, the curtains a water
fall. I am afraid she will stop
moving from our bed. That she would settle there, run
out of water to leak, nodding pale
toward a ceiling
she painted white last May.


Halloween – she winks – a sun
-dial on each torso side. Offers I do not know
how I will land.



Fatima Espiritu has been published by the Cleveland Botanical Gardens, CWRU LGBT Center, and Front Porch Journal. She studied Cognitive Science at Case Western Reserve and Poetry at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She works on social justice initiatives – most recently with youth in a detention center and youth at an international writing camp.