Literary Orphans

The Storyteller by Joanna C Valente


Henry was the one to tell Maggie about a girl

named Philomela. She could only be seen

through a cigarette flame. He wouldn’t tell her


what she looked like, only that she appeared

if you were lucky. He was unable

to distinguish one face from another most times.


Maggie asked if the girl ever spoke. No.

Her tongue had been cut out by her parents

when they discovered she was holding hands


with other girls. The neighborhood men

would watch her, like she was a girl

in dirty movies.


Maggie became scared of all the houses &

all the streets, of all the bricks piled brick upon

brick upon brick.

O Typekey Divider

Joanna C. Valente is a human who lives in Brooklyn, New York. She is the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014), The Gods Are Dead (Deadly Chaps Press, 2015), Marys of the Sea (forthcoming 2016, ELJ Publications) & Xenos (forthcoming 2017, Agape Editions). She received her MFA in writing at Sarah Lawrence College. She is also the founder of Yes, Poetry, as well as the managing editor for Luna Luna Magazine. Some of her writing has appeared in Prelude, The Atlas Review, The Huffington Post, Columbia Journal, and elsewhere. She has lead workshops at Brooklyn Poets.

O Typekey Divider

–Art by Kaia Pieters