Sierra DeMulder

Sierra DeMulder is a two-time National Poetry Slam Champion and the author of The Bones Below published in 2010 by Write Bloody Publishing. Her forthcoming book New Shoes on a Dead Horse will be release January 2012. When not writing or performing poetry, she enjoys making full use of public transportation and waxing on and on about feminism.


Four Poems (October 25, 2011. Issue 32.)

The Microphone

For Kyle

The emcee does not make eye contact.
He raps facing the speakers. His left side,
his good side, in profile, a portrait

of a dead president. He grips
the microphone like a teenager
jerking off to a jumbled porno.

He speaks to the beat, telling it
how to keep its shit together.
The audience is staring at him

but not really watching. The audience
is nodding their heads but they aren’t smiling.
They aren’t dancing or clapping or weeping.

They are just nodding their heads
and he is holding the microphone
not like a cock but like this is

the kind of pleasure that hurts.
Like this is the last thing his grandfather
said before unplugging himself.

Like this is the hottest pepper picked
from the vine with his teeth. Like he is hurting
himself for this.  This is the chorus he woke up

choking on. This is American dream:
to scream at the deaf. This is the most
romantic stroke. His whole left side is numb,

just nodding their heads.

Love, Forgive Me

After Rachel McKibbens

My sister told me a soul mate is not the person
who makes you the happiest but the one who
makes you feel the most. Who conducts your heart

to bang the loudest. Who can drag you giggling
with forgiveness from the cellar they locked you in.
It has always been you. You are the first

person I was afraid to sleep next to,
not because of the fear you would leave
in the night but because I didn’t want to wake up

ungracefully. In the morning, I crawled over
your lumbering chest to wash my face and pinch
my cheeks and lay myself out like a still-life

beside you. Your new girlfriend is pretty
like the cover of a cookbook. I have said her name
into the empty belly of my apartment. Forgive me.

When I feel myself falling out of love with you,
I turn the record of your laughter over, reposition
the needle. I dust the dirty living room of your affection.

I have imagined our children. Forgive me. I made up
the best parts of you. Forgive me. When you told me
to look for you on my wedding day, to pause

on the alter for the sound of your voice
before sinking myself into the pond of another
love, forgive me. I mistook it for a promise.


Pro-anorexia is the support and promotion of an eating disorder as a lifestyle choice. Often, online communities provide tips and encouragement, and affectionately refer to themselves as Ana.

I would never speak to a child
the way I speak to myself.

There is nothing empowering about lessening yourself.
You are a vanishing act. Your body, the magic hat,
pulling out nothing. Your body is a clothing wrack,
your body is my favorite sweater shrunk in the drying.

Less is more less is more less I know
more less I know more or less how to love myself.

Hair loss is a side effect of bulimia.
If you are so hell-bent on losing your hair,
here are the scissors. Here is the razor.
Why don't you shave it? Why don’t you
donate it? Why don’t you braid me a fucking scarf?

You beautiful martyr. You knuckle-kissing saint.
You are a mother bird and we are all your children
and we are all so hungry. We want to see a staircase
around your lungs. We want to hang ornaments
from your collarbone. We want nothing
to do with your softness.

They don't show big girls in the magazines
like they are afraid to show men what childbirth looks like.
It is too real, it is too bloody.

Dear First World,
what a privilege it is to hate our bodies.

Ana, when your loved ones
carry your coffin, will they doubt
there is a body in there?
Like an empty suitcase.
A silent instrument.

I too have pulled at my torso.
I too have imagined hemming my body.
I suck it in. I suck it in. I turn off the light
before I let him love me.

Ana, imagine yourself as a little girl.
Tell her she is not good enough. Tell her
she is ugly. When she comes to you hungry,
do not feed her.

Your body is not a temple.
Your body is the house you grew up in.
How dare you try to burn it to the ground.
You are bigger than this.
You are bigger
than this.

Dear Ana,
you are swallowing yourself.
Your voice is so small.

Reassurance To Sierra In High School

Don’t worry. The acne will go away, sort of.
You will stop fighting with your sisters when they go
to college. This will be because of two things: your inability

to steal their clothing and the realization
that they are older, cooler versions of you. Your bully
will end up shaving her head and going to jail

or she will become a lawyer and have a nice car
and six babies. You will have no idea. You will forget
what she looks like, remember her the way

one remembers a splinter. You will stop
loving sharp things. You will learn how to make
your bed without being forced or threatened.

You will break up with your high school
sweetheart. I know, this is a surprise
but trust me. It is the right thing.

Yes, he loves you but it is a smothering love,
the way a dog nurses an open wound, all bared teeth
and tongues. When you leave him,

it will not feel like crushing a light bulb
in your hand — more like slowly, so slowly,
removing glass from inside your palm.

For years after him, you will let your heart
hang open like a soup kitchen. This is not
a bad thing, more a lesson in proportions.

After graduation, you will change a hundred
times over, like a revolving door, a waterfall.
One day, you will learn how to give

and receive love like an open window
and it will feel like summer every day.
One day, everything will make sense.

The Legendary