Jess Rizkallah

it doesn’t have a name

or it does but

i don’t know it.


i could be like “your name

is shawna now” and it’d be

like “bitch, it’s courtney.


tomorrow it’s tom. last tuesday

it was the shadow

by your window at night, i live in

the corner of your eye

the second the lights go out. back

the fuck up.”



i don’t think my pussy’s name

would ever be courtney.


i don’t think my pussy

likes to be called

a pussy.


or maybe i just hate

calling it that. i really

hate it. i call it

my third fist.


a hand full

of nails. i call it my down

there. fuck the monologues

but it’s like that one monologue

with the old lady.


i think i’m an old lady

but instead of cats i just have

hella plants blocking

all my windows


i think not-courtney is

one of my plants


and full of something

like aloe but made

of bones


and doesn’t need sun,

lives below the crust

of my earth


i bleed millennia

of hellfire and plastic



all teeth around

the casing of something



a bullet full of blood,

a glass of water

in the night.


Jess Rizkallah is a Lebanese-American writer / illustrator living between Boston & New York. Alumna of Lesley University, MFA candidate at NYU & founding editor at Maps For Teeth magazine / pizza pi press. Her work has appeared in Word Riot, Nailed MagazineButton PoetryRattle, & on her mother’s fridge. Her collection THE MAGIC MY BODY BECOMES won the 2016 Etel Adnan Poetry Prize & is forthcoming on University of Arkansas Press, 2017. Find her at

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