Two Poems by Thea Swanson


No one wants to go there. We have to tread light, write the perversion with metaphors, pen how flowers were crushed by boots. We have to whisper our travesties to therapists, guard the ears of our mothers and aunts. We have to ride in cars with our uncles and stare at passing houses while he fingers our small bodies, then kiss him goodbye. You cried when he died.  You and your cousin weren’t talking to him. I don’t want to know about it. Like when you patted your father’s forehead that poked out from his coffin, despite. We bury our sicknesses in silk and wood, in stomach aches and noses that bleed in the night, relieving us of the guilt we feel for the crux of the matter that hides between our child thighs.

Glass Ceiling

It’s a good better day to be a woman [in some places[1]] [on some days[2]]. We aren’t forced into asylums by our fathers and husbands,[3] but we are forced to marry our rapists [depending[4]]. Not as a witch will we be hanged[5] but shot in the head for not wearing a scarf,[6] perhaps. Remember when a rag was shoved in your sister’s howling mouth during labor as residents observed?[7] Every day I say, don’t interrupt me.  Every week my opinions require validation by outside sources. My verbal accounts are repeated back to me with an authoritative pitch. The Mexican Weather Girl secures the rapt attention of millions for thirty seconds a day–alas, her boyfriend left her for video games.[8] Let’s be clear: The glass ceiling is really, fucking high.

[1] The 21 best countries in the world to live in if you’re a woman.

[2] Why Swedish workplaces aren’t as equal as you think.

[3] Women and Psychiatry.

[4] Marry-your-rapist law.

[5] Salem Witch Trials in History and Literature.

[6] Somali woman killed for not wearing veil, relatives say.

[7] Cruelty in Maternity Wards: Fifty Years Later.

[8] Pro Gamer Dumps World’s Sexiest Weather Girl.

Thea Swanson holds an MFA in Writing from Pacific University in Oregon. She is the founder and editor of Club Plum Literary Journal, and her flash-fiction collection, Mars, was published by Ravenna Press in 2017. Thea’s work can be found in many journals. Find her writing at

Artwork: Family Portrait by Sam Heydt

Sam Heydt (born April 20, 1986) is an American social practice and recycled media artist born/raised in New York City. Although currently residing in Vienna, Heydt has lived/worked in Paris, Venice, Amsterdam, Athens, Buenos Aires, Sydney, Reykjavík and Rajasthan.  Her academic career traversed Parsons School of Design, The New School, Cooper Union,  University of Amsterdam, Universitdad of Buenos Aires and La Sorbonne.   In 2012, Heydt launched Jane Street Studio, L.L.C. in Manhattan.  Since established, the photo studio has broadened its performance to provide both design and marketing consultation in addition to art direction.  It’s growing roster of clients span Europe, North & South America, Asia and Oceania. 

In addition to this entrepreneurial undertaking, Heydt has attended artist residencies in Iceland, Australia and New Zealand; where she has documented different forms of environmental exploitation. A published author, producer and lifelong activist, Heydt has undertaken a range of altruistic, non­-profit work. Her art, anchored in social advocacy,  attempts to give a voice to the veiled, forgotten, exiled, and silenced.

In her practice, she works across a spectrum of different media- film, video, installation, photography, sculpture, sound, merchandize, text — and employs a range of materials often reinventing or trespassing their associative use.  Heydts’ vision looks beyond the ordinary. Esteemed as one of the pioneers of the recycled media movement, Heydt’s work has been shown in galleries, museums, art fairs and film festivals worldwide.