issue 5

october 2017

issue 5 - october 2017

critical - Tori Mitchell

You told me boys don’t like girls who read too much 
so I got my own library card 
and carried Oscar and Virginia like a shield 

You told me to cover up  
so I wore the shortest dress I owned 
and crushed the hands of anyone who touched me

You told me I was beautiful with my mouth closed  
so I showed no hesitation in speaking my mind 
and I would never become soft silk for you 

(I once loved a man who confused me with vodka, 
half-poison, half-goddess 
he tried to water me down 
sweeten with honey 
stamp out the fire 
so I left him behind) 

You told me girls should be delicate and dainty 
so I turned up with bloody knuckles in combat boots 
and spat teeth of steel  

You told me being a writer isn’t a smart career choice 
so I filled journals with a garden of words 
and made sure people finally heard me 

You told me nobody likes public displays of affection 
so I kissed my girlfriend in the middle of a crowded street 
and a big neon Fuck You flashed above our heads 

(what you meant was  
two teenagers can make out on a bus 
but god forbid two girls hold hands) 

You told me it was her fault, she was asking for it 
so I linked my arm in hers at the police station 
and forced them to listen 

You told me that bodies covered in tattoos aren’t pretty 
so I illustrated mine with bluebells and snowdrops 
and spilled ink into swirling scripts 

You told me that my hair looks best when straight 
so I wore it curly 

- girl, princess, warrior, queen

freedom - Tori Mitchell


  1. there is no elixir like the salted waves.
  2. all I know is smoothed shards of shattered bottles and splintered wood, laying a path towards atlantis. I am not a stranger, the tide floods through my veins, my heart is anchored to the ocean floor.
  3. the sea is not a sad song. the waves do not care for weeping.
  4. i kissed a boy who turned into seafoam before my eyes, leaving a trail of sea glass like a welcome mat. I kissed a boy in a crown weaved of coral and pearls. I kissed a boy and tears don’t matter when you’re made of saltwater.
  5. poseidon is calling me home.

Contributor's Note

Tori Mitchell is an avid reader and writer who finds poetry a lot more cathartic and cheaper than therapy.


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