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When You Stopped Speaking To Me by Dana Kinsey

what you really wanted /was for me to stop speaking / to you / but I didn’t /understand at first / thought maybe you were tired / from working /so I talked more / sure you’d appreciate me/ rescuing you from emptiness / thickening over us / the charcoal clouds coating chandeliers / sneering at me / for needing our server to believe / we were happy / celebrating my birthday /now I hate myself / for not fighting / the impulse to thread through lead crystal on white linen / touch your fingers / before you snatched them off the table / where I couldn’t reach you/ cueing me to conduct a monologue /with my fork / watch seared scallops float / in pink puddles of vodka sauce / wonder if each of their 200 tiny eyes / witnessed my red lips fading / my voice breaking / into halves / having my own conversation / words flicker-flaming like pink-striped candles / their wax melting onto /the complicated layer cake between us /vanilla /with strawberries / stuck in icing / longing to be back at home / growing on a vine / sunshine bathing their round ripe bodies / before they were slivered / into decorations / smashed deep / in buttercream / bitter dream/ birthday theme /silence / like the kind at every party /where you were my only / guest

~ after Vievee Francis


Dana Kinsey is an actor and teaching artist published in Fledgling Rag, SWWIM, ONE ART, West Trestle Review, The Champagne Room, Wild Roof Journal, Prometheus Dreaming, and more. Her poem “Show Me, Earth, Your Day," was a contest finalist in 2023 at Sweet Lit. Her poem “Paying My Respects” was chosen by Oprelle for their Poetry Masters Anthology. Dana's play, WaterRise, was produced at the Gene Frankel Theatre. Her book, Mixtape Venus, is published by I. Giraffe Press and was selected as a “Best Dressed” feature for The Wardrobe at Sundress Publications. Visit and follow on Instagram @dana.kinsey plus Facebook

EDITOR'S SONG PAIRING: kissdoomfate — Bitter Dream


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