12.1 / SPRING / SUMMER 2017


Because I need to release pain,
I cut a hole between my ribs
and let my heartbeat pump
blood outside my body.

Because I’m a perfectionist,
I like to make the hole
a perfect circle.

Because sometimes I like to give
my skin a deeper hue like
I don’t recognize
the color of bruised skin.

Because you’re saying I stole
your rib when really
it belonged to me
in the first place.

Because I’ve been told
I’m too beautiful to die
inside someone else.




Ashley Mares is the author of Maddening Creatures (Aldrich Press, forthcoming), The Deer Longs for Streams of Water (Flutter Press) and A Dark, Breathing Heart (dancing girl press, forthcoming). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Stirring, Whiskey Island, Glass Poetry, Whale Road Review, Prelude, Hermeneutic Chaos, and others. She is currently completing her J.D. in Monterey, Ca, where she lives with her husband. Read more of her poetry at ashleymarespoetry.wordpress.com and follow her @ash_mares2.