Three poems by Marisa Silva-Dunbar


There is some relief in this rejection.
Build a dam to where another life might’ve flowed,
that brook would never grow up to be a river anyway.

It is a sigh and a sting—the shedding of old delusions.

For my Friends with Lovers Better Left in the Dust


I’ve seen you shrink as she devours you.
You never ask what she’s taking—
the parasite consuming the host.

Her pettiness makes you weak,
runs you in circles. She promises paradise
served in a glass of lemonade.

I worry you will become a shadow woman,
a shell of longing and illusion.


Wedded young to a guy with no imagination—
overgrown frat boy wannabe. We knew he’d try
to box you in, make you a domesticated lady,
in a house that is really all his, you’re just an ornament.

You dream about decorating your skin, with a brightly
colored peacock winding its way up your torso, and back.
The ink peeking through your suburban mom uniform,
but even this he forbids, the only marks he wants on you—are his

You are a fire-sparked, earth mother with claws
ready to rip out throats. He’s running scared,
still a silly little boy zoning out in front of a screen.

The life you want is waiting for you.


Oh, Lonely Girl—worrying every man will leave you.
You have chained yourself to a guy too lazy to move.
He stopped working months ago, just sinks into your sofa
as the stress from your job wears you away.

He promises trips to a foggy city where you can lose
your troubles—those are the only things you own
these days. Even if you catch him with his fingers
in another girl, you’ll stay.


Spittle stuck to your cracked lips—
I have never seen a man drain youth
from a girl, like your lover does.
You are all teeth, jaundiced skin

and sunken eyes.
What happened to the wild raven
waves of your hair? What locks
did you give away when he was building
shrines for former flames?


Found poem from Francesca Lia Block’s Echo

A pulsing sacrifice—beautiful dark bruise.
Obsessive eyes like mouths.
You’re the perfect food,
My little blood orange.
Flesh—He eats bloody.
She’s disarmingly shady—a slicked mouth.
I wanted to erase her voice—the pleasure voice
telling me to breathe.

They separated me:
spasms struck,
bones break,
a curling stomach.

I dreamed:
I was translucent—a thousand ghosts.
Our bodies under water—
cut, blood marbling, flowering—
Dark circles under the eye—a fruitlike wound.

I see inside him:
He bought blood for the soil.
He was staring into a mirror—nothing stared back.

I tried to scream: Take me home!

Nothing comes out.


Marisa Silva-Dunbar’s work has been published in Rose Quartz Journal, Awkward Mermaid, Spider Mirror Journal, Mojave He[art] Review, Anti-Heroin Chic Magazine, Poetry WTF?!, Better than Starbucks Magazine, Redheaded Stepchild, Words Dance Magazine and Gargoyle Magazine. She graduated from the University of East Anglia with her MA in poetry, and has been shortlisted twice for the Eyewear Publishing Fortnight Poetry Prize. She has work forthcoming in Mojave He[art] Review, Sixfold, Pussy Magic, Midnight-lane Boutique, and The Same.

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