Two Poems by Terri Dawn Kent


Behind the Tilt-A-Whirl
Suzanne and me toke

the carnie’s joint, study
his Valvolined fingers,

the black crescents
of his nails. Us, all side-eye.

All cola-breath and tube-top
and blue shadow, copped

from my mother’s purse. We
are 14.

14 and half-convinced
we steer bodies of women

under the carnie’s
testimonial gaze: high

and blithe and angel-
watched as we’ll ever be.

See how coolly we slip
from this man’s greased reach.

Us, inertia-flung and hip swayed.
Us, snorting giggles into neon night

— something sweet and sad
and centrifugal

at our backs.


She Stops Saying the Apostles Creed
the Day after Her First Period Arrives

Thirteen, and her tongue
disowns unworthiness

her lips, the tepid wine. Pewed,
she turns to the window—to

the gap where stained glass
yields to screen. She swallows

half-light and birdsong. Exalts
this new blood, hot & noble

between her legs.


Terri Dawn Kent is a poet from Northern California. Her poems and prose have appeared in River Teeth, The San Pedro River Review, Barnstorm, Prometheus Dreaming, and Literary Mama.

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