The Weyward Sisters: Songs of Ophelia A Collaboration from the Women of Sudden Denouement

you must remember

rosemary, pansies, fennel,

columbine and rue,

You forgot tansy, didn’t you?

When the ground freezes over

And your flowers crumble and brown

Let the ice in Hamlet’s Heart

And the Red on his hands

Deliver him forever from you.

And when you return again

From your journey to the sea

Never forget

It is you.

It was never he.

Rana Kelly/2nd star to the Left, straight on ’til morning

I sat and watched the current roll by today

I think I’d like to float away to a place that I cannot say

You were always directing the rivers flow

I trusted you knew where it would go

But you let me go adrift

Dream chaser isn’t that what you always said?

You’re where the love has always been

Dream chaser dream chaser

don’t mock me now

Its not always the same

You will find me in this life or the next floating down stream

Not a single memory left

Hannah Wagner/The Hero’s Inferno

from up here, the night is clearer.

she is closer to the sky.

the branches cradle her like a mother’s arm,

bouncing in the night’s distractions.

if she stretches high enough,

perhaps the summer breeze

will whip these leaves into a flurry,

and carry her,

perhaps she will join the path of stardust

and deserted dreams

to meet the star-girls

in their extra-terrestrial dance –

she longs,

yet the maternal clasp of mother’s chest

holds her fast,

with ropes of tears and blood.

Lois E. Linkens

Defined always

By men around me





Locked ever in memory

Who holds the keys

To my prison?

Descent into

Watery madness

Sink gracefully

Into welcoming embrace

I will become a mermaid

A siren

No room on dry land

In this man’s world

For a woman of pure heart

To break the mold

Break expectation

My fight floats away. . .

Christine Ray/Brave and Reckless

I don’t want to be surrounded by men anymore

I run, it is in vain, I go in circles

I wish mother would take me to the water


A world without mothers

The world would fight in peace

He says it is over Ophelia


It’s never over

I tear this watch off my neck

I am sick of biology ticking

I am going to end the world

A woman doesn’t have the power they laugh

I will poison the milk that flows in me

I will take the planet between my breasts and watch it pop

The world will end

When there are no more mothers

Hannah Wagner/The Hero’s Inferno


but unforgiving

stamping out of the water

a malnourished fetus dangling from her open womb

“Look what you have made me do!”


but pestilent

tired of men knotting flowers around the slashes on her wrists

to make death look appealing

I’m Ophelia, except I didn’t die in a river

mouth full of seashells and eye-sockets full of mud

I’m Ophelia, alive, burning

blood on my knuckles and poetry scribbled over my palms

Hush, little boy, you tragic Hamlet imposter

I might be coming for you next

Malicia Frost/Malicia’s Malebolge






Wire in the Blood-Christine Ray/Brave and Reckless

The line

between the face

I show the world

and my shadow self








No longer clear

where one ends

and the other begins


I walk


heel to toe

on the

knife’s edge









the risk


There is

wire in my blood

Tang of copper

Taste of hot iron

when I lick

the rich

red droplets

off my fingers

from the scabs

I deliberately

scratch open


I like

how alive

I feel

when I bleed

There is purity

to my pain

A high



never offers


I know what

I am


to want

But my shadow self

wants to drive

for a while


That part of me

doesn’t give a




This shadow me










There is wire in my blood

and I am the lightening rod

Christine Ray writes for Brave and Reckless and The Whisper and The Roar and is a managing editor at Sudden Denouement and Secret First Draft.

She is an aspiring badass

The Attic-Rana Kelly/2nd star to the Left, straight on ’til morning

I give until I’m gone.

open my rib cage

scrape my heart

onto your plate

where it goes cold

and then I remain

an empty hope chest

in the dusty corners of


with kindling made of

broken rocking chairs

and cracked porcelain


Judy dress forms

Full of pins

And yellowed walls.

Weaved in among the


In a neighborhood

of condemned houses,

waiting to be burned.

[Rana Kelly was born and raised in the Deep South, and now resides in the Southwest.  Her poetry, personal essays, short fiction, and photography has been published in anthologies and literary magazines far and wide over the years, from Caesura to featherproof press, FM to Ceremony Collected. Her first novel, Until Her Darkness Goes, was published in 2015.She’s currently writing her second novel under a pseudonym.]

I Have to Turn My Head

On Muses-Candice Louisa Daquin/The Feathered Sleep

Muse you are an unwanted thing

coming as moth must be drawn unwillingly

for whom of us longs to be captured by the light

denying us rest?

for in the grey of our self-imposed exile

we know no disturbance

our affection is metered and paid for each day

by a short stack of coins all bronze and safe

securing our space in certain harbor

as little boats will never attempt

glorious journeys

but of course there are those unbidden times

like a storm out of the West devours best intent

cutting down our resistance

stark against your person

if you didn’t do anything but exist

it would still hurt

like beauty can make a man cry

unconsciously we dream of ideals

moving in hymn with that part of us

that can be held to the light and fractured

you know my song

before I know my own


I see the distance between

a quiet sleep touching you in earnest

and anything real

as colorless as soot belies attempt to rise above

normalcy and quench our longing for

a girl who breaks us into pieces with one movement

unknowing, as free as a child who has grown beautiful

over summer time

unawares of herself

she will always be this way and I didn’t know until I felt

in the pit of my stomach that fizz and fall

down into a place of ache

something as sweet as pain

the desire unrelenting and yet

impossible before it is formed

like a best intention

left like her dress on the floor

as I lift it over her thin arms and watch

the bow she makes with herself

and the reddening of her cheeks when

I demonstrate not all we know we know

surprising even those

who think themselves immune

to oddities and marbles strewn

lifting her into me and beyond where

my tongue and her murmurs hold each other

my eyes close when I see her

beneath me like a sea

nipples pressing insistently against my fingers

and all that she thought

was right

and wrong

for this moment

it doesn’t really count

we are beyond ourselves

her feather weight and my discovered ardor

making champions of hesitation

acrobats in abseiling the curves of her

I would please myself in the pleasure of

her surprised movement, writhing as she danced

inside my mouth clawing in pleasure

every part of her as delicate

as the flower I saw reminding me

how she would surely taste

a nectar within honey within amber within light

and stars

reflecting on her sloping shadows

lifting her up into myself we bind our

legs and arms and hips into fused pulse

no it is not a contest I seek to win

she is always going to love others

as they will always seek to touch her

but for that one moment as I let the sun heat my face

in thought

she is mine for this second and I reach out

and she comes

into my arms willing

dissolving and hungry

like red sand rises with

encroaching storm I hear her

cry in my ear a cascading joy

something breaks free

and she knows then

the loveliness of her

reflecting within me

Candice Louisa Daquin is from Sephardi descent and immigrated to the USA where she lives in the American South West. She’s written many poetry reviews, her own work has been published in magazines and she has her fifth book of poetry coming out thru Finishing Line Press. Candice loves modern dance, reads voraciously, walks in the countryside and loves supporting fellow poets in their quest for true creative expression, above all she honors the rare human traits of loyalty, truth and mercy and supports the destigmatization of mental illness.

I Could Almost Sparkle-Nicole Lyons/The Lithium Chronicles

The truth is I liked the filth of it all.

I was a fucking mess,

but eventually life demanded

cleanliness, and eventually

I could almost sparkle.

Still every now and again I’ll slip,

and cast my shadow to the delight

of the other sparkling messes

afraid of their own.

They cool their heels

and laugh, patting each other

on the backs for shining

so bright that their tiny things

will grow dull. I watch them

from my shadow, wrapped

in the warmth of my cleanest

tiny things that will grow wild

and bright despite the mess of me,

and in that moment,

when their lights fade

and the breeze meets the sweat

on the back of my neck,

in that moment I am clean.

[Nicole Lyons is creator of The Lithium Chronicles, as well as being an editor and writer for Sudden Denouement. As always, we are honored by her presence.]

Sym(me)try-OldePunk/RamJet Poetry

RamJet Poetry


so nothing will be left to embrace

the sundering

they say it comes and goes

but for naught

lifeless headlamps

which will break into the oceans

of the love of something that’s burning

on the mother’s unmarked grave

conceptions regress into giant’s toys

that kill in the instant

it takes for life to go bye

leave while their backs are to you

filter thoughts through the skein

of the silence releasing all of the blessings

malformed by lesser words said

feed the symmetry emotion

you are dying every little moment anyway

only open eyes realize

certain aspects ascertain paths

of the ways you feel

having undone the doing

sighs upon size upon rise upon minds

regressing into a soft submission

regarding the small death that can grace

your schedule at any instant, an impromptu meeting

solving the problems that seem the most important dawning

realization that they are the least

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