Degradation Kink

By Veronica Beatrice Walton
Hot staple of a letter,
leather-tongued, red as the bottom 
of night, wound into me like

fingers or a bruise.
Here is an illustration of breath.
Here is an elevator for eyes. Thumbs,

racing towards Sunday. Call me
obsessive, reactive as apples
meeting rot. Call it a gun, call it here.

Oh flickering boy, yellow with
music, inject toner into my
thighs. I call you the psalm of 

my demise. Call you faded smile, dissolving
into jagged pixels. I call you, call him. 
Call him. Call. I can be anything you need

me to be. Shaving my skin off, just ask. 
Some might call this insecurity, I call it 

shifting in and out of your prevaricating
teeth, a boneless thing, a quartered voice.
People like the shred of me they see:

A smile that could solve 
the energy crisis. A bad girl, 
so call me trash. You

feeling spontaneous tonight?
Oh baby,
I’m always improvising. Have you ever had so much
of a sentence in your mouth that it was always-

already shattering? Give me a name you’ll 
remember in your sleep. Give me a gloss 
you’ll peel off upon waking. 

About the author

Veronica Beatrice Walton is an educator and graduate student from the New York City metropolitan area and an alumna of Bryn Mawr College. Her work is published or forthcoming in Little Stone, Ethel, The Bitchin' Kitsch, Miniskirt Magazine, and Eponym. Find her on Instagram @bildungswalton or at

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The Ladder

By Gail Langstroth