Three Poems/ Monique Kluczykowski

Imposter Syndrome


They always lie about the pain—

just a little discomfort.


A plastic straw snakes up the vagina

to the scarred cervix, closed now for renovations.


The bunk beds look sad, stripped

of their mattresses, their sheet forts.


Boxes multiply in the garage,

stars in a far-flung galaxy.


The bang already happened—

we who are left must sort and bubble-wrap.


Everything and nothing is worth keeping.

Who wants a broken chair,


a loveseat with claw marks,

coffee cans filled with nuts and bolts?


Shakespeare (collected) opens,

an ultrasound photo falls out.


This kidney bean, bookmark for The Winter’s Tale,

never grew. A metaphor of sorts,


the infants of the spring, 

blighted ovum in the chart.


Exit bear, stage right. Where does one go 

if one is never a person,


not even an embryo?

Sometimes the ovum and I wander city streets at dusk 


together, waiting for the lights to come on.




A small forest growing in the gutters,

you’re ashamed, wanting to explain 

there is no crumb trail home,

the meth and crack dealers are taking over


You’re ashamed, wanting to explain

the black mastiff in the driveway next door

the meth and crack dealers taking over

the unpruned roses in the ditch


The black mastiff in the driveway next door

the malignant ivy threatening

the unpruned roses in the ditch

you’re a witch in a Rapunzel garden


The malignant ivy threatening

the small forest growing in the gutters

you’re a witch in a Rapunzel garden

and there is no crumb trail home.




A sharp knife through a green pepper, an eggplant,

a dragonfly with the wings pulled off.


It’s all my fault. Everything. Did something 

upset you? It was me, please just don’t—


The pilot says we’ll be landing soon. I grip my white wine, 

tough cookies, pray for a smooth descent.


Fuck that, fuck you, for ever making me feel 

that a knife across my cool blue wrist 


was penance, raw slashes 

where forgiveness leaked out.


Some scars are raised and rough, others smooth 

white lines, white lies




IMG_6053Monique Kluczykowski is a first-generation immigrant and poet who currently lives in Iowa City. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her most recent poems have appeared in StepAway Magazine, The Magnolia Review, Two Cities Review, and The Medical Literary Messenger. Her short fiction has been published in Number One and The Examined Life Journal. Follow her on Twitter @bluebelletrist.



Image: Corey’s Belt 9×11, frayed belt, acrylic, glue on canvas board

Alyse Chinnock is an artist and writer from Las Vegas, currently living in Northern Indiana. She studied poetry at Arizona State, and serves on the board for the Elkhart Arts Alliance, a nonprofit that promotes public art in Elkhart County. Follow her on Twitter @IttyBittyPoems.

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