July 27, 2018 >

July 27, 2018 >


Three Poems

by Gina Bernard

picking scabs

like skidding out
across black tar—

Huffy scuffed
naked ankle
loose shoe lost

gray morning
hid in bed
itching lingers

fingers worry
dried apricot
flick at it

pizza crust
wells of blood
bubble up

sweet release
spinal twinge
once again

but somehow
always in my brain



reading bones

i am sea-mad Ahab pounding this hand with my own ivory stump—
phalanges piercing skin like spy-hopping white whales;

i am the flued harpoon buried deep between shoulder blades; pliers
pulling coined hope from maul-hammered mast;

my hesitation, a drogue in blue currents; insides coiled like dried rope
stowed in salt-crusted barrels;

i am gull-harried slabs of rendering fat, flensed from flesh & set to boil;
lips erupting—cracked heel sunk in slick decks thick with black blood;

first mate to myself, transfixed in duty—condemned by craven obligation;
i’m coffined carpenter, orphaned child, & the third day’s dark shadow;

i tongue prophecies at a copper sun, still surprised at my blindness—
my death stirring in the trigonometry of stars.



to feel small / is no great chore

simply crawl on your belly / through overgrown grass / your breasts pressed to an earth /
surreptitiously laced / silent spinnerets ensnaring / incalculable numbers

to feel diseased / is easy enough

just as effortless as reciting symptoms / while shivering in drenched sheets / feverishly repeating
contagions / to the warren of dust bunnies / under your bed

to feel corrupt / is a matter of course

merely gulp despair like curdled milk / cramp / collapse to the floor / your disgrace pouring
down / the backs of your legs

to feel deformed / demands little more

than peering in mirrors / marveling at surgical scars / convinced your feminized face / costumes
the contours / of a disfigured heart

to feel broken / becomes normal

a scratched record of echoes / filtering from voided hallways / always empty / like you

this pain then / proves palpable

like the sting of fine fangs / fastened to your spine / the septic bite of some / repulsive spider


Gina Marie Bernard is a heavily tattooed transgender woman, retired roller derby vixen, and full-time high school English teacher. She lives in Bemidji, Minnesota. Her daughters, Maddie and Parker, own her heart. Her chapbook Naked, Getting Nuder was a finalist in the 2018-2019 Glass Chapbook series, and is under contract with Clare Songbirds Publications. Her chapbook Taxonomies is a finalist for Thirty West Publishing House's 2018 Chapbook Contest. Her work has recently appeared in Coffin Bell JournalHeavy Feather Review,The Hungerr.kv.r.y quarterly, and Spider Mirror.