betrayed by
flesh: blood
beats tattoos
against the
underside of
skin flushed
in steady push to expand surface area on palms and soles, prime targets for a
body demanding to be cooled, dilating veins, capillaries, speeding respiration,
& boosting all perspiration till this body is a cross i wear and i wonder—in a
quite non-violent
—if i should
take a wicked
blade to both
my hands &
these 2 feet,
release that
pressure, if
i should prick
slick brow, &
pierce a rib
beneath my
breast, will
wild drums
slow & body
cool, or will
i simply feel

Selected byNolcha Fox
Image credit:Ricardo Gomez Angel

author bio: Jan Harper


Enjoyment of the written word is a gift I've been granted all my life; to have others enjoy what I write is another, more surprising one.


When a poet's words are read, minds connect at an infinitely intimate level.


My writing has appeared in various print publications, from single pieces to arrangements of 10, plus in numerous spots across the web over the past 20 years.


I'm an ex-Brit living in America with my husband, mother-in-law, dog, cats and chickens, plus coyotes, rabbits, deer, possums and other wild critters; when I'm not writing poetry, I can be found with my hands in the dirt, planting and growing a kaleidoscope of produce, or making jams and good meals from the harvest. Painting, knitting, needlecraft and more all express my love of creating.


(photo taken with my phone of a little spot near Southend, England, where I once sat and ate burger and chips as I contemplated being a mermaid)