Header artwork by Sugar Smallhouse

Amber Galeo


            after Evie Shockley

Self-portrait with bronze medal, with babies breath,
            with compunction, with complimentary gift basket.

                        Self-portrait as architect of yes
            courting architect of no, with clear confusion,

            with rabbit warren. Self-portrait with red fox Monday,
                        with blue fox Tuesday, with diurnal craze.

                        Self-portrait in mixed light,
            with voluptuaries, with glitter fluttering

my solar plexus, with three bodies in one.
            Self-portrait overdoing it all. Self-portrait

                        as already home, as Budweiser with Roseanne,
                                     with wood-paneled room, without irony.

                        Self-portrait with tremor, with spilled box
            of arrowheads on the corkboard past.

            Self-portrait with old personage, without regrets,
with tumescent spring, with longing.

                        Self-portrait as bold with longing, with own arm
            throwing Faulkner across the room.

                        Self-portrait reading women instead.
                                     Self-portrait with ghosts in the new estate,

                        with singing, with horror films, with tequila anesthetic.
            Self-portrait collecting years with the sea

                        in fresh memory and brackish spirit. Self-portrait
                                                disappeared as salt, but with this index.


            Last night I hated you in your peasant clothes

And bathroom haircut             eating whipped brie and blueberries

            with the verve of a dead battery.

I needed you awake                or covered in snow, shuffling

            the way you do from kitchen to bedroom

With cold water in a tumbler.              To love that about you

            but hate the edges of your mouth caterwauling

In the neighborhood past bedtime      resting above

            the volumes I’ll dare to say.           Lover, you fell asleep

While the bloody halfmoon                  set under my eye.


Amber Galeo is a writer and human rights advocate based in Brooklyn, NY. She holds an M.F.A. in Poetry and an M.A. in Human Rights from Columbia University, and her poetry and social criticism have appeared in Guernica, The Missouri Review, Prairie Schooner, and Women Arts Quarterly and more.