It’s 10 o’clock

Where are the poems in the dead
of night, when the heart no longer stews desire
for the mind to take a warm bath, when it’s
no longer strong enough to force a cardiac creation
of landscapes for the lonely entitled ego

when picket fences turn to rotted teeth felled
into the angry neighbor’s yard, when the toxic
wife’s cum ignites your pussy hairs, straightens the
naps and calls you a “nigga-hatin’ bitch”, when her
dreamy writing of your name on her arm feels like
nothing more than a threat

Where are the poems when your bloody fingers
work to scrub apathy from your daughter’s tongue, when
you take her kayaking and she drowns, when she
haunts you, squeezes your nose shut at 4am
every morning, when your torso ejects from the bed, when
your mouth screams in terror watching your wife grows glass
shards of blame from her skin.
the air, heavy with creaks and her groans as she turns
in the bed, opens her arms
and pulls you into her?

Where are the
poems when your open mouth, a chalice,
begs for benediction and your eyes catch
your mother’s body shying away in the mirror,
scared of who you’ve become?

I let strangers’ tongues lick notes around my body, a shawl
or shroud, I am unsure. To burn me alive, or
gently to my death, I am unsure.
Either way, I am finally,
finally, warm.

-Stephanie Ambroise



gas masks, metal rods cowered
underneath the pressure of overabundant
friction. my brother left old skin
behind, in the rubble.

the tremor of neurons, or hands, or lands
is cause for alarm (which is a tremor of neurons),
(which is the reverberation of slammed gates)
(which is the shiver of throat borne from a white, chalky epicenter)
(which is a shaky aorta the doesn’t affect him none)
(which is a shriek burst from quivering chords)

were there any casualties? Was anyone
stood beneath the frame of this felled house?
Even now, echoes escape esophagus
in the dark of night to meet a cold door
with slits that can do naught but disregard him.

no one bothers about the casualty that’s the disaster
hearts don’t reply “yes” when twitchy fingers knock
the blood from the wound that speaks does not get wiped
away. you’re simply left a statistic, with a name

and alone at night, the soundless crunch of toss
and turns, a body begging a bed for comfort.

-Stephanie Ambroise

Waiting for Prince

after-rain prism puddles to pull Prince
from, and my girlfriend used to call me
worthless. this bruja, i know!
this word-
smith who punched out teeth to make
keys, who burned vagina
to keyholes

in front of my house is something distinct,
but i don’t remember it. houses are
built onto conveyor belts built into my amygdala,
red flashes of rage and there’s a new front door
1295, 123, 5, 57, 104-70, 102, 58

flip them, and i’ll tell you my fortune (in bed)
“good things come to those who wait”
“forget who you were, embrace who you will become”

i made a misstep, and dropped the white slip
from my hands, softened by the baby blue
words that are actually clouds our minds fix
into something safer to look at, no one wants rain
in the time of witches
, words are spells
that break bones, soften stool before its time,
turns Princes to frogs, gives you something to hope

i used to be decrepit, used to need a cane
(the sugar one white people know little about)
to suck on so my legs wouldn’t wobble and i’d
be left to fall onto the tar terrible truth
that a relationship with mother is a lie,
is green, is soft baby blue under the harsh yellow
light of truth: truth is

i am a lesbian woman who once wore
a conservative Christian as a necklace
and sweater, necklace last. see, even then
i would have died by the pussy!

i wore her, sucked her, grew as her biggest shame
i am Lying Leech Lesbian in an orange cape
my father made for me, whose father made for him,
whose father made for him, whose master raped
into his grandmother’s skin.

i once fell asleep lost in count of sugar
groups, into DNA, into trauma
and woke up thirsty and diabetic. it was 3am
and raining, and the last thing i remembered
was me and attempts to spell myself,
“i am a gift, i am a gift, i am a gift”


-Stephanie Ambroise

low tide

i have not written anymore
gently tossed pebbles to the base of my lungs, i
pressed lips to trachae and thought “breathe”, just
to hear the tremor of imprisoned breath, feel
the helpless silence of gagged absence.


oceans swim, did you know? at low tide,
the waves forget for all the creatures bobbing
in her. she wonders how she is so tired among
all of this stagnancy, pregnant and never
birthing, a mother never crowned.


i have not written anymore
the last words i had were etched in my elbow
but that story has since eroded by the gentle waves
of depression, and i traded clack and scratch
for the sound from my lungs
pressed to my ear.


i am in a dark cave now, because the wise man
does not trust memory. you will not remember
if you’ve been moved or are moving. the barefoot feel
of a flower petal, the flower petals life beneath
the burning sun, the sun’s fear of it’s shine,
the stem who pushes pushes pushes away the gravity
wet soil, compact and hungry for purpose, the comforted
wormed ripped by the child who screams. the mother,
moved and moving.

even if you only have images, you must

-Stephanie Ambroise