Two Poems by Joanna Valente

I Eat In Bed With The Lights Off, Just Like When We Have Sex


                        Turn up at low tide

                                                        against your will.

You are too young to know what 

                will is.

We’re nobody nowhere
                                                                                              right now

                                        on a ship neither sinking or floating

                                                        in a desert, under a desert

                                                                                                      there are eyes watching us.

                                        Our eyes are closed. 



I want a new moon baby, I’m a new
moon baby.

                                                I’m a moon inside a planet that is 

                                                               and there are no babies
                                                                                                      left in this planet anymore.

I took down your photo from my desk 
like it was never there

replaced by space. Empty space is better
than men who don’t try. 


                               I ignore 
what my husband did to me

when he took all of the photos of us down
for another version

                                                                                                      of me

the version that is better and younger

and better at sex 
than me. 


                                                               A man once told
me he wanted to leave his wife for me


               live in Europe on a boat somewhere.

That was happiness for him.

But he couldn’t.

I mostly

                                              still love him.



                                I tell you the truth. 

                                I want to see
what no one else sees. 

I want to see what you see. 

I don’t care if you die before me. 

I want to see something 

and tell you what it feels like.

                                                                                                I want to tell you.

Don’t be afraid to let your body die.   

                                My body died on a moon 
                                                                 volcanic radiation like your body
                                                an unlikely destination for 

Like my womb. Like your body.


{{ Don’t be afraid of 
your deaths. }}

Holyplanets, stars & you, dear Algol, dear Asteria

But here is the birth of a new story.
Let me tell it to you: 
Once there was a body made

by the rings of Saturn, a star separated
into two stars, genderless, shapeless
architecture, a thing, the thing,

a house, holy, holier than two
because one is the only

number that can be holy

but now two, the architect said, here

let them find each other
even if it takes a millennia—
all of time, sideways and backwards


And eventually the star, the two 
disembodied stars, find each other

as humans
with matching thunderstorms inside, beachmoon 
smoke and salt instead of bones

binding them together in death, afterdeath 
and beforedeath

and the sun is out like a swan’s broken neck
and a car alarm is going off
and they are walking down a street somewhere
and sometimes they are smiling

and they aren’t perfect but they are perfect 
and this moment in time is perfect
and it is the thing that will matter

in all of time even when their bodies
rot even when their bodies are full of rage
as if rage is the only thing

to fill them up, like only left pieces of rib.


And in another space of time, their bodies are being made 
and split apart over and over and over again

and Saturn’s rings spin and dance purplesilver, a thing in space, 
nothing more beautiful

and one of the stars says, I do not separate 
you from me:

first feast, a ceiling fan circling for eternity


God and their angels, swans with broken necks

               learn how to dance every dance.


There is a thunderstorm when the two stars
kiss, a poem whose infrastructure is a body—

your body, one star says, before I knew it was yours,
our bodies in Scorpio’s moons.

If bodies are lines, eternal beasts lit like stars,
then my body is yours,

so say a prayer

because I’ve always loved you—
I’ve had no choice

once the first prayer was born,
spoken as a monument that stopped our bodies
in time, along with all the other bodies

and stars before us
lost in a cemetery, their energies and ours
locked in a timeless

architect’s dream. 

Under my architecture, you rise like a demon 
once lost but now found, simmering
twilight leaking—

and what is the difference between demons 
and angels?

None I tell you.
It was just a story some humans 
told, wrote down like a breeze,

like poison wafting till turned.

Joanna C. Valente is a human who lives in Brooklyn, New York. Joanna is the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014), The Gods Are Dead (Deadly Chaps Press, 2015)  Marys of the Sea (The Operating System, 2017), Xenos (Agape Editions, 2016), Sexting Ghosts (Unknown Press, 2018), No(body) (Madhouse Press, 2019), and #Survivor (The Operating System, 2020). They are the editor of A Shadow Map: Writing By Survivors of Sexual Assault (CCM, 2017), and received a MFA in writing at Sarah Lawrence College. Joanna is also the founder of Yes, Poetry, as well as the senior managing editor for Luna Luna Magazine.