“I Compulsively Look Up Men Who Hurt Me on Instagram” & “Broken Branch” by Caitlin Wolper

Collage of four black and white photos of people looking shocked, set on a yellow background

I Compulsively Look Up Men Who Hurt Me on Instagram

Sometimes I dream
a knife speared up
my cunt – permanent
solution, a warning.

I choose to sit. It’s an
empty room, a clean
cleaving of the body,
blade slicing skyward.

The sword-swallower practices
first, then performs under
spotlight, thinks

                        I know what I’m doing,
                        I won’t get hurt
                        this time.

Broken Branch

They remember to mention
                              their dog
                                      in his obituary

Why do we say the living “survived” the dead?
                              we don’t survive, just keep on on on 
                              ten years, we’d kept
                              a silence.

                                                     We gather here today
                                                     because Google told us
                                                     two years later. The middle child
                                                     a mystery exorcised from print.

                    What do I remember? A photo from the couch.
                                        Smoke-tang cutting, yellow nails, dominoes splayed
                                        on a counter. Screensaver a maze of brick walls.
                                        All of the rooms where we weren’t allowed.

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Caitlin Wolper is a Brooklyn-based poet and journalist whose work jointly focuses on culture, music, identity, and more. Her poetry has appeared in Glass, Hypertrophic Lit, and Ghost City Review, among others; she’s written articles for a number of publications including the New York Times and Rolling Stone. Her first chapbook, Ordering Coffee in Tel Aviv, was published by Finishing Line Press. She eagerly tweets at @CaitlinWolper.

Benjamin Wayne Torrey is a mixed-race non-binary photographer, videographer, and designer from central New York. They often work in collaboration with musicians, and have produced art for Sammus, Izzy True, and naps, among others. Also a musician, Torrey released a debut album with the band Rill Ghosties in 2020. You can find their work at www.benjamintorrey.com.