Juliet Rose is an alumna of the undergraduate English Writing program at the University of Pittsburgh and the MFA-Creative Writing program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. She is Narragansett and Oneida Indian, as well as Sicilian. She has been writing stories since she first learned how to string words together. She writes to process trauma, express the vibrancy of stories, and give thanks to all those Mars deities who taught her how to love and find love, in both the chaos and the calm. She was born and raised in Southeastern Pennsylvania, but she currently resides and writes in New Orleans, Louisiana, the city that holds her heart.
(And an homage to the women of Game of Thrones)
She has always been attracted to the feral, the wild
To raucous, rabid love
To falling asleep holding each other after smashing mirrors and kicking in sheetrock like that’s the only true intimacy
Her first impulse is always to bite and scratch,
Before she kisses and caresses and cuddles,
Which were all skills she learned later
When lovers first started trying to domesticate her
Prepare her for life as wife and housekeeper and mother—
she was never meant to be a lady.
Think of who her teachers have been
She’s learned from the masters,
To compartmentalize every emotion and express it back as anger
Unabbetted and unchained
Because she can be angry and still be tough
She can throw you down on the bed or up against the wall and fuck you with fire in her eyes and
Bite you until your skin bleeds and bruises and scars
And call it passion
Or that place where true freedom eclipses vulnerability
Don’t wake the dragon, mad queen
Find that place where sexy and crazy intersect in just the right ratio…
Enough to fulfill your wildest fantasies
Without being too much for you, right?
She can love you, angrily
And never be softer for it
But you try to make her feel something different
And she will hurt you for this.
Bring your totems together, manic mestiza, Iroquois woman
But you don’t know what you’re asking for
It can be dangerous—
All of them, at the same time, wanting.
These aren’t your mottled together colonizer conceptions of dream catcher spirit animals—
It’s ivy being born out of the Earth,
A tiny green root system shooting out of the ground and forming buds that form leaves
That cling to your warm skin like hands in prayer
It’s a blackbird, wings outstretched,
soaring over forest-capped mountains
Singing the raspy caws of a woman who never knew how to make the right choices, but wants to let you see her,
All of her, the real her, Rainbow Crow beneath scorched feathers and irises smoldering with ash
A green snake with beetle-black eyes
slithering over the forest floor like a river flowing between the trees,
Licking shark’s teeth with split tongue again and again
Imagining all of what that tongue and those teeth could do to you,
Especially those moments your tattooed arms look the most vulnerable and clean
It’s a spider spinning a fine silk web to point the rest of her, and the most accepting parts of you, towards the center of everything
The blue morpho butterfly emerging from her cocoon, asking was that really it?
Everything’s supposed to be different now, so why does she only sometimes feel different?
Wishing none of it had happened, but knowing if none of it had, she’d still be a caterpillar
Or worse, she’d still be Little Dove.
It’s a yellow bee who feels safest among orchids who despite what everybody said about her, never wanted to sting you or else she’d die
All the creatures, all of them, in their own ways trying to tell you they love you, meet at the center, in a desert where a coyote lays by a burning campfire, waiting, because she is the center
Have you ever felt Trickster mount and ride you in the dark?
For the night is dark and full of terrors
And she might have been all of them
But she doesn’t need to prove to you or to herself
That she can handle your grittiest ideas of roughness
And that she doesn’t need handling.
Beautiful hammer god men and tough goddess women have engraved their wishes in her skin, tasted desire on her cunt
Evoked feelings at the core of all those animal spirits, made her seek names for the colors she saw in them while they bled their souls to anemia.
So why should you be afraid of her?
If she can do nothing else,
A sorceress who can inspire such dread in grown men is not to be despised
Your desire tastes like cinnamon on her tongue
Your fear like saltwater, surprisingly empty,
But your anger is like cranberry mezcal, same as hers
And the night is only full of terrors
If you turn on the light.