"Hungry" and "Queens"


I keep my little principality tidy. Like Genghis Kahn’s nuns, I am a part of a war nation, having no real land or location, taking pain out in ever widening circles. Shouldn’t I travel as the hordes did, living off the conquered, carrying only my broom, a war nation against my own.  It doesn’t take much really. You only have to be hungry and willing to do what it takes to get fed. 



All down the street/ The new fathers/ Beat the kingness out
Of the/ Kings

Michael Dickman, “Kings”


They drag you —
You can’t walk by your self

That’s what they say

There is a harness, fitted to a small torso
They call it guidance and depending
On who and when

It could be/have been
A lot of different things

So, hitting
Or crooning

It could have been hush

Hands taught to fold into useless

But not alone, not by yourself

It could have been a slap

It could have been games in the closet
Lifting your blouse

Later, in a general way

Admiring what you had of breasts

There was a progression

It could have been naming you
Honey, Sweetheart, Slut, Bitch, Homecoming Queen

it wouldn’t define you
they promised



Wendy Taylor Carlisle

Wendy Taylor Carlisle lives and writes in the Arkansas Ozarks. She is the 2020 winner of the Phillip H. McMath Post-Publication Award for The Mercy of Traffic and this spring, Doubleback Books reprinted her 2008 book, Discount Fireworks, available free at: Doubleback Books. Her website is www.wendytaylorcarlisle.com. Photo by Greg Comnes.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Thursday, June 2, 2016 - 12:50