Two Poems by Morgan Eklund

Queens Don’t Cry by Veronica Winters

In the Half-Bath

When I bleed this month, I’m back in my body, back
to the first time it happened in the half-bath downstairs,

the one that used to be a closet before the renovations –
the renovations, that were supposed to save my parents’ marriage

but didn’t. It was there, at the first sight of blood, my mother
out of town, I yelled to my father through the door.  This is the last time

I was honest with him. When he asked me which hole the blood
was coming from and I replied, the first one, the one in front?

And he told me I started my period and left the door
to get the phone for me to call my mother. Neither of us had

anything to mourn yet. He hadn’t left yet. I wasn’t a woman yet
So, I became the rust thumbprint on my pale blue underwear,

not a flood, only the first harvesting of loveless particles
Only the echoes to gauge my mother’s meticulous

bathroom décor: the sage walls, a vase of dried pink hydrangeas.
The bowl of potpourri told me everything there was to know

about being a woman but nothing about men. Everything
about bleeding and nothing about how to get this stain out.

Four Tankas for Miss Expanding Universe

After “the newest Noguchi, a great white plaster shape something like a starfish and something like a woman which he has named ‘Miss Expanding Universe’” (Time, Oct 10, 1932)
Something like starfish,
in a brilliant dance above.
Something like woman.
I am falling open now—
silver body full of space.

I could be water-
angel, the aluminum
creation story.
I could be symmetrical,
upside down tightrope walker.

Pushed out from my hands—
global elusion, misshaped
planetary. Do you miss
me yet? Did you mistake me
for unobtrusive silence?

Steel stretch cool, I am
Miss Expanding Universe.
I have never been
a self. I am not mad or
temporary to this world.


Morgan Eklund’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Poet Lore, North American Review, Hippocampus Magazine, New Orleans Review, and Sequestrum. She received the 2022 Lawson Prize selected by the Illinois Poet Laureate and previously received the Emerging Artist Award from the Kentucky Arts Council. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Best New Poets anthology. Originally from Kentucky, she now lives in Chicago and works at Steppenwolf Theatre. She received her MFA in Poetry from Northwestern University in August 2022.

Veronica Winters is a Russian-American artist and teacher. She is the author of The Colored Pencil Manual and How to Color Like an Artist (Dover). Her art and writing have been published in numerous magazines and books, including Strokes of Genius, Leisure Painter, Colored Pencil Magazine, the Guide to Artists, American Art Collector and International Artist Magazine. She works in her studio in Naples, Florida.