local_library Contemporary Omens

by Shelby Vane

Published in Issue No. 213 ~ February, 2015

In my last snapchat, I am topless, winking, my one eye

already half closed. I slurp my chocolate milk, believing

it will flush out the desire that made me drink it. I start

listing what I know:

Bears lick their cubs into shape.

Some hands are soft enough to steal the chicken egg from the underbelly.

We like to lay our love on the table and eat what’s left.

Drowning is like being in another country…like being stabbed in another country.

I want with teeth—a puncture on the cherry skin, all spit & instinct,

bumming one good drag—or two—from you. I tongue your name

like sore skin in my mouth. Your meal is my birthright, like

the bleeding of the thumb when you suck the cut and taste the iron.


I think about all the women who want you more than me.

I think about yanking the necklaces from the girls’ throats,

unconcerned whether I break the clasps or the girl.

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Shelby Vane is a poet currently living in Maryland. She has been selected for residencies at Tin House Writers' Workshop and The Vermont Studio Center. Her work has been published in SOFTBLOW, Summerset Review, Words Dance Publishing, and Polaris, among others.