exercise in desire

francesca kritikos

art by felicity tse

The history of my family


is littered with madwomen

who stare back at me

in the mirror

more & more each day

I want to peel back the paint

on every portrait

of every woman

I want the truth

I want the truth



The original murderer

was a man.

If he was in prison today

he’d have three wives.

They would write him letters

in curly script & marry him

in yellowed lace.


They’d think,

He’s a keeper.

Your student, your person


I watch a documentary about Princess Diana & wish I came of age in the 90s again

I think I could be ugly & happy then / like it would always be autumn / or something

I want to hold the world in my hands / make it change for me / If you love me you’ll do it

but I’m not next to the world / to time / I’m in it / I keep telling myself / reminding myself

there’s no going back / & when the bombs come / there will be nowhere to hide

I’m on ghost mode on Snapchat / I’m married to my false prophets / who love me very much

I’m deleting emails / I’m keeping my head down when I walk / hiding my ugliness

I don’t get tattoos / I will be Jane Doe in the morgue / Anonymity as fantasy

No one will know where I am / when the bombs have come to stay / but until then

I’m not free of it / of anything / I’m your student, your person / I keep telling myself

I keep telling the world / take me / I’m yours


Exercise in desire


I want the weather

to make me cry again


I want every stranger

to twist themselves like roots

for me


& I want to turn away

from everyone


& when I face them again

I want to be someone else


I want to eat, eat, eat

my bones

so no one can fill me

but me

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