Editor’s note – trigger warning for discussion of sexual violence

buckle-punctuated tenderness, steaming vodka lips press to my neck / the church spire spears swollen dawn, i cry / make you drive me home, sneak inside before my mother stirs / thank you for not making me ask twice.

your mouth melts gold and kisses me molten one night / i do my best to bind the crumbling in my core but you are the first to see light in my veins / the last treasure i want to leave

called by heartbreak nestled beneath my tongue, purring liquor lullabies from between your teeth / you pass out on the couch and i fuck your friend instead

blurry morning hands crooning over my body, some dormant presence only breaths away. “DON’T WORRY” / … / “IT’S FINE, YOU WANT IT DON’T YOU? HOLD STILL.” silence-strangled bile clogging my throat / maybe it’s not rape if you kiss him back.

maybe it’s not rape if you kiss him back.

conquest in a new language / stone walls, hazy stalls, your apartment in the dead of night / newborn-woman tongue doesn’t know how to beg: gently, please gently / hands rub raw and never touch her again / can you even remember my name?

did you know you were the first to taste me? the 3 weeks it took for me to let you in lost in 5 minutes, you sheepishly light a cigarette / “IT’LL BE BETTER NEXT TIME”

lust in lightning eyes, forbidden flesh of woman between my lips / “he wouldn’t mind,” you insist, just a tongue floating on my thighs / the ring on your nightstand screams, MARRIED, MARRIED, MARRIED / we drown the warning

you offer me a salad and shelter from the rain, i say yes to the salad but no to your hands / somehow i end up tangled between your teeth anyway / only the moon hears my walls give way

you say my accent is cute and don’t meet my eyes / my underwear has rainbow polka dots, and i make sure you don’t see the little girl you’re about to fuck / shame slips them off with my pants / “TU PRÉFÈRES ÊTRE NUE TOUTE DE SUITE ? VIENS, J’ADORE LES FILLES COMME ÇA”

you tell me all you miss is embrace, intimacy, two bodies lost and empty / together / i awake besides a hunter, weaponry already digging into my defenses / “ÇA TE FAIT MAL ?” / oui oui oui / ARRÊTE / s’il te plaît arrête, please let this be a dream

lost in our darkened city, wine bottles overlooking riverbanks and streetlights that are stars to me / i show you how to whisper secrets to the trees, and you see my body as earth to conquer

you are promise greater than all possibility / the dawn becomes your smile, every night is your chest / our breath / someday, your departure will not suffocate this body

famished love tells me i am made from good, made of God / arsonist prowling for skeletons to burn, flee from his blackened fingers and leave him choking in ash


Chantal Paloma is a 19-year-old plant enthusiast and Native American WoC currently living in the north of France. Her skills include pasta sauce improvisation and wearing silly hats. There is nothing more beautiful than the painful humanity of Being, intertwined. Chantal is on Tumblr: http://deschoux.tumblr.com/.

Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, prose, reviews, and interviews from marginalized creators.