Her eyes caused earthquakes,

tectonic plates colliding and sparks

leaping from her gaze into mine

when they crashed,

inciting tremors beneath my skin.

The way my synapses

fired love letters from neuron

to neuron to every part

of my body until it tingled

with love like a fever coursing hot-

and-cold from her sly smile, two parts

sarcasm, one part sugar.



She breathed poetry

the way I bled apologies.

She said I reminded her

of the clouds,

whimsical and artistic and way,

way above her in every way.

I told her I was sorry.



She was the sky:

infinite openness so stark

it makes you feel like a flake

of dust

drifting through air,

spinning in sunlight.



The night she couldn’t be there

to trace happiness onto the backs

of my hands, so instead texted

me about the days to be had,

the reasons to live,

while I sifted through a handful of pills,

a bottle of vodka next to my bed.

She said,          I can’t talk you

into loving yourself.



I looked at the sky and it looked

like rain. I looked into

her eyes and there was rain

there too: droplets

pattering against windows

collecting into

pools of shadow sorrow,

storm clouds eddying behind glass:

green-grey-blue-bruised lakes.



When she said I’m sad again

the words tasted like

dandelion wine.

(She wasn’t supposed

to be the one who

wasn’t okay. She talked

about recovery, picking

herself out of minefields

and learning how to sleep

next to her dragons.

I was supposed to be

the one with a broken

smile and lungs full of




Her sadness was cosmic,

catastrophic, ripping-stars-apart

sadness. Her sadness was

gregarious, never-let-you-get-lonely

sadness, I’ll-sit-and-hold-

your-hand-forever sadness.

Dried river sadness.

Sadness that invited itself inside

and made a home in her

skin. There’s-no-more-room-

for-you sadness.



My body was more full of apologies

than organs, I’m sorry engraved

on the heavy peach pit in my stomach.

I’m sorry for loving you.

I’m sorry loving you couldn’t make

the sadness go away.



Her eyes caused earthquakes

and thunder storms.

She sang the soul electric,

siren song, lightning song.

Sadness song.


I know all the words.


Martina Dominique Dansereau is a disabled, non-binary lesbian writer and artist whose works centre on trauma, marginalisation, and love, particularly as they intersect with gender, disability, mental illness, and LGBT issues. When not entrenched in academia or creating art, xe enjoys reading books with xyr snakes, who often fall asleep between the pages. You can find xem on Twitter and Instagram @herpetologics.

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.