Three Stories
Danielle Gagliano

from MHPQ2

The Bitter Old Woman

the bitter old woman tends to the burns on my hands. i say to her, ‘you remind me of my mother’ and i think she is becoming softer as she smiles at me and, taking her hand with mine, pours on top a pot of scalding black blood and says, ‘now i’m reminding me of mine.’


emily dickinson would eat a bowl of cherries every morning on her bed. she would spit the stones behind her between the headboard and the wall. she danced from room to room wearing her favorite white gown. she asked her father to ‘politely refrain from interrogations regarding menstruation,’ but in a way that he knew that she really wanted him to ask. her sister’s legs were two different lengths at the time. fruit flies would gather around the cherry pits. at night she would masturbate herself with a crucifix of wood. during the masturbations she imagined herself in the desert being raped by god. this was the only way she could cum, because of the purity of it and because of course, she was still a virgin. one day her mother came into her room and said, ‘emily what is this there are fruit flies coming from cherry stones on the floor under your bed.’ ‘mother,’ she replied, ‘tell me something i don’t know.’

The Infantry of Mothers

the infantry of mothers march through the streets armed with echoed moans of childbirth leaving in their wake acidic new-mother fluids. a young boy runs after his and she turns to scold him saying, ‘leave me my son, a trench is no place for a child.’ breathless, he pleads with her, ‘but mother, i wish to know for what are all the mothers fighting.’ but knowing it too dangerous he is sent away to leave her there with all the other mothers, the child never knowing that she answered him forgiveness