Two Poems
by Karen Poppy

When It’s a Woman

On July 2, 2020, the FBI arrested Jeffrey Epstein’s best friend and confidante Ghislaine Maxwell on federal charges, including transporting a minor for the purposes of criminal sexual activity and conspiring to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, as well as perjury. 

The sea sways womanly, floats
and bloats your father’s body.
You, always daddy’s little girl.

We push on, give birth to our own children.
The sea will pull you in, unbirth you and
beat you, forcibly expel you.
Return you to your father—
your flat eyes already dead.

I state this all hypothetically.
Facts await eventual uncover
by moving sands on this sea floor.

That’s where you’ll find me. Us.
Beaming a single light 
to an ever-shifting surface,
signaling from monster-populated dark, heartbeat
you can’t erase: I am here, I am here…

Pulse and surge. You swallowed us whole.

It happens in every community.
I will tell you how two women,
a famous author and her best friend,
drugged a sister, laughed at her body.
Trust violated, she fell under.

When a woman tricks you—
betrays you
by taking you beneath her wing.

Shame drives us below.
Then truth comes out. Truth comes out in time.
When we speak from depths, call with persistent, 
searing cadence. Light-lifted and liberated.
United and aware of our own power.

The Eaten

I am the dark legacy
Of animal devouring.
Grizzled flesh, chiaroscuro 
Offering, glistening snake
Of intestines, jeweled
Jam of vitals organs.
Treasure coffin of ribs,
Sternum. Heart beating
Its pulse, in memoriam
To myself. The she-lion,
Lioness, grazes with
Her teeth passionately.
Their glint soft like her
Tongue upon my every
Recess. She brings deep
Parts of me to her young.
I fulfill one strand of prey,
Power. The weaker, outrun.

Karen Poppy has work published in The Cortland Review (Best of the Net nomination), Naugatuck River Review (11th Annual Narrative Poetry Contest Finalist), The Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide, ArLiJo, and Wallace Stevens Journal. Her chapbook, CRACK OPEN/EMERGENCY, is published by Finishing Line Press (2020), and she has another chapbook forthcoming with Finishing Line Press. Her chapbook, EVERY POSSIBLE THING, is published by Homestead Lighthouse Press (2020). One of her poems has recently been selected by 22nd Poet Laureate of the United States, Tracy K. Smith, for her national radio show and podcast, The Slowdown. An attorney licensed in California and Texas, Karen Poppy lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. More at