Dead Girl

By Abby Paden

I am spread thin
Across a vast desert
Vein-stretched canyons
Carry a voiceless wind

My bones brittle
Sun-stained and dried
A wind-whistled tune
Fading into eternity

He told me he loved me
The one with the Camaro
From daddy’s money
And mommy’s drinking

One night under the moon
With stars blazing white fire
And the sun’s fire gone
my love taken, not made

I spread my wings
For final flight
Across the canyon
where bones now dream

their slumber restless
a symphony’s rage
my thundering heart
beats the sand

and day after day
my broken bones
further stretched by wind and beast
and I’ll dream until there are no dreams


Lesbian Dream

by Abby Paden

Lesbian dream
vivid, drenched sheets
broken promises
to last night’s wicked resolve
this morning’s reality

fingers, feminine
slip through silk
between legs never broken
silk never spoken
love, submissive will

Lesbian dream
purpose, beating strong
tradition cast away
as last night breaks the wall
and morning, growing still


by Abby Paden

in the cold ground she lay
lifeless, cold, and barren
no more will she play
in fields of wheat
and worms, where bitter harvests pray
cold stones litter the grass
hard, cold, and forgotten
where worms move purposefully
stretching out
and rotten
burrowing the holes
that never fully heal
during the day
bones left white and bleached
fields of harvest
i knew her once
i said to clouds swollen and sullen
boasting fear and solace
broken moons
months forgotten
on my chair I rock
frigid air, December
when the last of January’s fire
just embers


by Stephen Paden

sometime around 5 am
my mind tricked me
intangible feelings
pregnant with lies

i leaned against a palm tree
awaiting introduction
to the new me
manhood erased, a new woman born

beyond the crowd
familiar faces
past memories
an old girlfriend glowing with recognition

her smile shone brighter
as she approached
revealing love, pride, and absolution
for the woman she beheld

“You look radiant,” she said.
“We always suspected–”
“i’m not gay,” i said.
“But thanks.”

and in that moment
her love poured over me
joy, now tangible
like a soft linen sheet

i wrapped it around me
and bathed in my new body
between my legs
not sex, but identity

then clouds rolled in
a piercing cry
from my alarm clock
the dream gone

i lay in my bed
like a broken statue
soul-shattered horror
as loss became death

Who was i now?
What did it mean?
Was it joy or the woman,
where i finally found peace?


by Stephen Paden

it’s just a pill
for better or for worse
a noble effort
to break this curse
but deeper in
the feelings rot
withered fragments
dead or not
the sting subsided
the wound is healed
no fragrant flowers
this garden yields
last feeling gone
nowhere to hide
an empty calm
now burns inside