Stephanie Saywell Headshot
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on stumbleupon
Share on email

Before ballet, Emily pulls off her shirt and all I see is white

brocade, six metal busks – a dainty spine sealing up

 

her stomach, bulletproof. She presents her back, her oxytocin formula

tattoo peeking over the seam. My fingers are there before me, hooked

 

through the corded bunny ears. I unbow and unknot, finally getting

to take off her clothes. I pull the modesty panel aside. My heart

 

attacks itself at the sight of her skin (or her crimson fedora halfway

across campus, or the way she eats french toast with her hands,

 

or when she pulls me away from my homework because the sun

is setting and then grabs my pinky toe in the grass and tells me it belongs

 

to her. And how after each boy dumps her, she hikes up her skirts

to run and collapse in my arms like a Brontë protagonist). I trace the waist tape

 

around to her front and ease rounded shafts from their washers. Her breath

pushes her shoulder blades into my breasts. The red base

 

of her braid brushes my ear as I place my chin on the cream

of her shoulder to better see my fingers. She steps out

 

and I am left holding the satin shell of her

20 inch waist, leaving her fleshy and exposed, somehow smaller

 

than she already was. She shimmies her tights over her knees

and tells me about an Austrian Empress who was stabbed with a file

 

that went right through her corset and into her heart,

but it wasn’t until she unlaced herself for bed that the hemorrhaging

 

that killed her could begin. Emily pulls the elastic waistband all the way up

to her ribs and then ties her sweater into a hug around her belly.

 

In front of me at the barre the curve of her waist is the inverted curve

of my elbow. After class, I will offer to weave string through grommet

 

and lace her back up into her steel bones, if this is what it takes

to make her feel held.

Stephanie Saywell (she/her/hers) is a queer, NYC-based choreographer, performer, and published poet. She holds two BAs (Dance & Written Arts) from Bard College and a Certificate of Completion from the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre’s Professional Training Program. She has studied poetry under the tutelage of Megan Falley, Ann Lauterbach, and Michael Ives, and short fiction under Paul LaFarge. Her work has been published in Ink & Letters and Muzzle Magazine. www.stephaniesaywell.com

Julia Vinograd

partnership to support the Julia Vinograd movie

Julia Vinograd was a poet. Perhaps you haven’t heard of her, which is all the shame. Ken Rosenthal plans to change that with his forthcoming documentary. Julia Vinograd: Between Spirit

Kaia Gleason

Kaia Gleason – New Art Director

Gnashing Teeth Publishing is excited to announce Kaia Gleason has joined the Gnashing Teeth team as Art Director. We had the pleasure of working with Kaia recently as she provided

Pushcart Prize Nominees Announced

Share on facebook Share on twitter Share on linkedin Share on twitter Share on stumbleupon Share on email We are so excited to announce our nominees for the Pushcart Prize! POETRY: “The

Best of the Net Nominees 2021

we are so excited to announce our nominees for Best of the Net 2021. we submitted 6 poems and 3 pieces of artwork for the 2021 season. The Best of the

scorpion

ennui or waiting

as summer creeps in with 100 degree heat and scorching sun, it is easy to stay sequestered in the air conditioning. the past year of quarantine has made the inside

connect

we love hearing from you. tell us everything