3 poems by DENISE BENAVIDES – The Feminist Wire


T H R O W   T H E   W O M E N

B A C K   I N T O   T H E   O C E A N



i want to rename her

something blue

like the night

she was forced into


i want to rename her

something life-form

like rib, or muscle—


i want to rename her

something like sleeping,

or breathing


wear her like

blood work and vein


anything but

a stomach

hollow enough

to carry a family

of secrets


i want to tell her

this place is where you trace

your hand back


where you go blind

imagining scissors


i want to tell her, mother

this is no place to store

a body


i want to tell her, mother

you and i

are something

water born


of preservation


do you hear me?






L O V E   H E R ,   L E A V E   H E R



shame killed my mother



it was an allegory of deaths—



after the other


the bodies


a rebirthing

from the wastes


yet, i must grieve

each woman



in a desperate attempt

to say:


come back,

try your natural self





T H I S   H O U S E   I S   E M P T Y   N O W


i am sure this is the poem

i will write after you have left




our bed is a small

and empty birdcage

in the mouth of a snake


the blood we shared and left

in the cupboard



and the drains keep reaching

for handfuls of your hair


the animals we raised

skinned and hung themselves today


and the hinges on the door

have forgotten your name


but each nail howls

at the thought of it—


the chimney, riddled with worry

has broken all of its front teeth


the ghost in the hallway

speaks ill of our blame game


desperate for affection

the windows stay open


i stay open


i want to wail with the old grief

you stashed under the sink


i want to wail, i want you back

with me


your love—the only thing

i refuse to keep




Denise_Benavides-headshot3For first generation Xicana poet, Denise Benavides, writing has become a haven for growth, for understanding, and immortalizing life’s humanness. Currently living in Oakland, CA as an emerging poet and performer, her work has been published in FatCity Review, Ground Protest Poetry, The Far East: Everything As It Is, The Acorn Review, El Tecolote 40th Anniversary Anthology celebrating Latino voices, and as of late, a zine published by Third Women Press.

She has also been invited to perform at historically LGBTQ and Latino spaces, including La Pocha Nostra Workshops at Galeria De La Raza, The Latino Spoken Word and Poetry Festival ¿Donde Esta Mi Gente?, Voz Sin Tinta, SF Queer Open Mic, and most recently hosting and performing at SOMArts Cultural Center for the opening exhibition: Today is The Shadow of Tomorrow, an exhibition with over 175 artists celebrating Dia De Los Muertos. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is currently working on her upcoming collection of poetry titled: Riot Girl.