I Didn’t Know Wearing A Dress Would Need Control

without desire / a bridal dress holding a kiss / this is my history / a still of sunlight and dust / the one who did not believe / the pleasure I control / this is a warning / tell me I can’t turn away / from my dress / a chorus of lungs burst / ridiculous white / I am a forest of wings descending the heavy smell of a veil.

I hear men like dolls / heads covered in cloth / the idea of a smile destroyed by a single red tulip / what hum / I indulge into ripeness sudden and foolish / make it raise electrons then fade / I say I am too much / sheets like snow dead / a skull dull silence / imagine the body is reduced to ether / dragged in shadow.

this is in my head / I should stop / I did the impossible and dreamed I was a girl / this is my body / I do not lie still / the pigeons gave up death rather than wish their legs / sprayed tulips sudden like a twitch / almost nothing envies yesterday / but the chicken.

once I had a name / I wore it ordinary / as if it had been permanent / the worth of it was all that made me / shake power so easily / I moved my head to joy and into me I go to find I am not empty / I trust my name and know better of what I have to say to my body for whom I want to escape / I want to recognize the shape of stars around me despite the earth / how it used to be magic when I thought I’d never feel.

given the women one, two, hush / I fidget under desire / there is no moon to steal my eyes / I am my own light / I give the flowers my name that pleases me to remember / I meant I was light / before my clothes and my body / reach into my head that’s fruitful and honey / offering a last salvation.



Reflecting clearly into the Earth and into the planets


*From the author, Monica Rico: “This poem is a collaboration with my sister, Nicole Rico. I wrote an erasure/redacted poem from The Handmaid’s Tale and she created the photo to go with it.

Here is a list of my source material:
Title from pages 38-39 of The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (First Anchor Books, 1998).
First stanza from pages: 144-145, 284-285, 124-125, & 8-9.
Second stanza from pages: 32-33, 11o-111, 110-111, & 104-105.
Third stanza from pages: 134-135, 94-95, 70-71, & 46-47.
Fourth stanza from pages: 84-85, 162-163, 270-271, 74-75, & 158-159
Fifth stanza from pages: 274-275, 96-98, 260, & 60-61.”




Monica Rico grew up in Saginaw, Michigan alongside General Motors and the legend of Theodore Roethke. Currently she lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan and works for the Bear River Writers’ Conference as a conference coordinator and editor. Her poems have recently appeared  in SiDEKiCK Lit, Dunes Review, Moonchild Magazine, The Ilanot Review, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Luna Luna, and Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse.She is the author of the chapbook, Twisted Mouth of the Tulip (Red Paint Hill Publishing, 2017) and will begin her MFA in Poetry this fall at the University of Michigan’s Helen Zell’s Writers’ Program. Follow her at www.slowdownandeat.com.



Nico Rico is a Lansing, Michigan-based photographer. She received her AAS in Photographic Imaging in 2015. Her work has been featured on Slurpee All Access Chill, Tight Blue Jeans, Revue West Michigan, and City Pulse. She shoots events, concerts, fashion, fine art, promotional and commercial photography. Follow her at nicoricophoto.com.