Arianna Miller

Loveladies, New Jersey

after Meggie C. Royer’s
“For 20-Year-Olds Who Have Never Been Loved”

a woman is skin. she folds/stretches/creases allows lying

lips to sink in. fog secretes oil, her hair frizzy, vellus

follicles pursed ready to welcome the burn of no

-named man’s hands who would rather spell his name

between her thighs than sit for           . a lovelady of new

jersey knows nothing of love yet she knows hands were

made for tilting man’s jaw so his lips press just below her

earlobe. she removes emeralds from her ears, remembers

to rinse them in  ammonia later, licks relentless salt from

her lips (and his). loveladies measure their worth on

breath,          steal snippets: trace collarbone, memorize

muscle, finger-point veins to hearts that will never be

theirs. whenever she tries to open her mouth her legs

scream (in)voluntary response these women don’t know

to stop scarring. they are exposed pink & triangled white

& their blood is blackened blue. they breathe the sound

of a shoreline that won’t stop receding.

Arianna Miller is a third year student at SUNY Geneseo. She goes by “Ari” and will often get flustered if you pronounce her nickname wrong. Ari studies English (creative writing) and education, hoping, one day, to inspire her students to fall in love with words the way she did.