top of page



the truth is this: mary magdalene

knelt before the cross and wept

and for this was a prostitute

and for this was a sinner

the truth is this: David of Israel

voyeurized a woman—bathsheba—who was pure

(and for this was a prostitute) and so He raped her

and for this was forgiven

and for this was a saint

the truth is this: jezebel of tyre worshiped Baal

—who we call Yahweh—and His wife asherah

and for this was a prostitute

and for this was a sinner

the truth is this: Samson of Israel

loved a refugee—delilah—who did not love Him back

(and for this was a prostitute) and so He killed a thousand of her people

and for this was a hero

and for this was a martyr

the truth is this: mary of bethany

anointed Jesus's feet with perfume

and for this was a prostitute

and for this was a sinner

and martha of bethany prepared food for the Lord

and for this was an ingrate

and for this was a sinner

the truth is this: there was always more than one God

there was always a woman

god was always a woman

the truth is this: there were always more than 12 disciples

12, that perfect number of Men

12, the Sons of Israel

12, the age of the Lord at His first sermon

12, too, the stars on the head of Christ's bride

—who in childbirth brought forth destruction—

12, only good in the hands of a Father

the truth is this: thou shalt not plant any tree as an asherah

beside the alter of the Lord thy God

thou shalt erase her from thy memory

thou shalt forget

and if thou art a woman, thou too shalt be forgotten

ashes to ashes

dust to dust

until only Man




I dream blood. I dream + an orange sweatshirt and a face + shaped like shame. I dream myself + Macbeth, standing in the hurricane, and I + dream myself Macduff, head in hands. I + dream myself the Lady, disturbed and + dirty and + dead off-stage. I dream myself + Medusa, monster that she is, and I + turn Perseus to stone. This power is + mine alone to hold. I dream myself + the Hydra and + Hercules who killed her. I dream myself + poison, cause of my own + death. I dream myself + Edith, wife of Lot. I + see the sins of man and turn + to salt. I dream myself + Eurydice, lover of Orpheus. A man + sees me and I + am lost. Everything a woman + does + is wrong. I dream myself + a voice of violence. I + dream my knuckles cracked. I + dream my tears livid and + living and + strong. I dream myself + to fight, + to fight, + not flee.

I wake + a weapon + sheathed.



I feel you chipping away at my ribcage with

a silver spoon, carving a hollowness

so vast that it consumes me

I feel you settling into my bones, lingering

until they grow porous and weak

I feel you working my body into a dust so fine

even the earth does not feel me

return to it, prepared to blanket the

land with

my emptiness

I feel you kneading loneliness into my skin

until it becomes one of the tones in

my complexion

I feel you numbing my tongue and

fingers and stomach, until even the

nausea becomes only a dull ache in

my lungs

I feel you curling cold fingers around

my breath, pulling it from my throat

until not even air is left inside me

I feel you, and you feel like nothing.

I feel you, and I feel like nothing.



myself, medusa, turning smug smile to stone.

he attacks my temple

& my tears turn to rock. I never let another touch

myself, melpomene, muse of misfortune.

he steals from me what matters most

& makes it a devil. but the sirens still

sing, and I am unremembered and masked and not

myself, circe, carving hog from human.

he washes up on the island of my isolation

& I know no better than to love him.

but he knows only to take, to take, until my skin

clings grey-green to the space where I used to keep

my self, medea, manhandling and murderous.

m yse lf, scylla, six-headed and hungry.

my s e l f, mare of diomedes, man-eating and mad.

m ys e lf, sphinx, sinister and strangle-happy.

m ys e l f, melanippe of the amazons, black-hearted and barbarian

m y s

e l



myself, mary, mother of monsters.

magdalene, tudor, harris, shelley—

it matters not. all are maidens of rebirth

& destruction. all are all that a woman can be:

remembered for the misery she makes

& the man she molds as a martyr


Stephanie Holden (she/they) is a Halloween-loving queer living in New Orleans, Louisiana. She writes poems about love, trauma, gore, and the self. Her interests are fantasy books, body modification, and the South. She has two cats, a bearded dragon, and deep love for frogs. Find her writing at The Journal of the Wooden O, The Kennesaw Tower, The B’K, and Hearth & Coffin, her art at BEST SERVED COLD, or her narcissistic tweets at @smhxlden.

bottom of page