Three Poems

June 21, 2019


Annunciation: Leda


He shot

through the




my fingers

my eyes



my body

with his






The spider



on the wall.

He said Shush

little lamb,



make noise.

He hid


in the back

of my throat.

Every time


he woke

and beat his



blood broke

in my mouth.





Helen and Theseus


I watched him lift it


quivering in his right fist.

I was a girl


troubling the bulrushes.

He gripped it


like a fighting millet fish:

stiff and slick,


or so I thought.

I could hear oranges


break from their branches.


I despise helplessness.

Yet men love me


most when I am generous

with my body, quiet


as bones

closed in dirt, immured


beneath a shallow river.

What more


of this story must I give you?

I was blank once.




Io by Water


I might have guided him

a little with my eyes;

my milk


can spilled over; my sweet.

I was dumb as the lamium

below his feet,



For days after,

everything I touched


seemed to shrink

away from me.

Don’t ask me how


a breeze becomes hands

under a skirt.

I still dream


of hot bees

dripping from a flat, tight sky

and nesting


in my blood.

He took what he could,

which was everything;


my mind, my mind—

I still feel

a sharp blade


pressed there. I try

to walk myself clean,

but every onyx eye


of every red anemone

is his pupil-

stone: bottomless, bended


over me.






Holli Carrell's work has appeared or is forthcoming in Bennington Review, Blackbird, The Florida Review, Quarterly West, Fugue, and other places. You can find out more at



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