Two Poems: Monica Wendel – The Feminist Wire

Two Poems: Monica Wendel

By Monica Wendel


Gilgo Beach


We were so sick from dope

my mom had to fly from New York

to take care of us in the hotel


one woman was my friend, Shane

but the other women

had been murdered out on Long Island

by some John


years ago


so how could they be here

if they were dead


when we got more heroin

I told Shane

this was the happiest I’ve ever been

we were in Panama, it was so hot

but everything felt right

even the crowded bars we rolled through

looking to score

worrying about the next score


before I woke up

we sang karaoke together

the whole dream

was much more frightening

than this makes it sound –


because when I was high, I dreaded the death

coming for the women

and when I wasn’t high, I was sick


I woke and though of my ex-boyfriend

the summer that it was so hot

and I had poison ivy

all over my legs

yellow puss bubbling up


he picked rhubarb out of his parents’ garden

broke open the poisonous leaf

and rubbed it on my skin for relief


and we bathed in salt water

that stung the open sores


things heal, of course

the poison ivy went away

but I catch it so easily

and always in heat


alone, though

I’m scared to rub poison on poison







Maria Hernandez Park


To get inside

you have to pass through the gate

of Jehovah’s Witnesses


At home the gas is turned off

we eat pesto sandwiches

and cold brew coffee


Last night Mom and I drove over a bridge

on the other side was a steep hill


We rode down

I was driving


The exit ramp said Kidney Failure

like we were going so far into the valley

that the air pressure would damage us


Mom told me

to stop telling people my dreams


I woke up before you

when it was still dark

and watered the plants on the roof:

basil, cosmos, tomatoes,

added coffee grounds to compost


When you woke you called me back to bed

I told you what my mom said

Maybe that means it’s time to go back to sleep,

you said


They’ll turn the gas on in a few days

after the check is posted

sometimes I turn the knob

just to hear the clickclick the stove makes

without lighting



Monica_Wendel-553293_928855633866_1284622304_nMonica Wendel is the author of No Apocalypse, which was selected by Bob Hicok as the winner of the Georgetown Review Press Poetry Prize and published by the press in 2013. She is also the author of two chapbooks, Pioneer (Thrush Press, 2014) and Call it a Window (Midwest Writing Center, 2012). A graduate of NYU’s MFA in Creative Writing Program, she has taught creative writing at Goldwater Hospital, St. Mary’s Health Care Center for Kids, and NYU, and is now an assistant professor of composition and creative writing at St. Thomas Aquinas College. Her poems have appeared in the Bellevue Literary Review, Rattle, Drunken Boat, Forklift Ohio, Spoon River Poetry Review, and other journals. In spring 2013, she was the Writer in Residence at the Jack Kerouac Project of Orlando, Florida.