Kim Sousa

Kim Sousa was born in Goiânia, Goiás (Brazil) and raised in Austin, Texas. She currently lives in Pittsburgh with two illiterate pugs, where she reads for the Pittsburgh Poetry Review. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in Poet Lore, Rogue Agent, Apogee, Blunderbuss and elsewhere. You can find her, somewhere between being over and under-caffeinated, at




I went to France to smoke Lucky Strikes.

Before leaving, I tore the filters from my American Spirits

and smoked filter-less. A lie someone told me:

The French smoke hard tobacco.

The rust-wet leaves stuck to my lips, anyone I kissed.

I fit a pack and a half into each hungry day.

Each inhale was a silver shrug,

a whole-rib ache.

This is what France was, I thought.

Unfiltered cigarettes and running

from a drug problem drawn slowly

like a ship through ice,

then quick as melancholy.

Instead, France was cobblestone streets

that ruined three pairs of shoes.

It was the call to prayer on the Metro

and flask-fulls of bitter wine.

It was the Rhone, its lonely water

like a bruise. No Lucky Strikes.

Only Gaulouises. And me, veins fattened

by butter, molar-crackle of baguette.

Me, skipping rocks across water licked clean as a mirror;

braced against the outstretched arms

of every bridge, its dull

sobering shadows.



After a miscarriage

In prison, they shackle you to the bed in childbirth. / There are 48 nerve endings in the human wrist. / 30 arteries and as many smaller branches. / 29 bones. / The lines connecting palm to wrist? / The bracelets of life. / A wrist in shackles: water running into a bruise— / a break. / Something about impulse in Physics: resultant force with respect to time. / It is possible to grind your teeth into salt. / Low and flat, evaporating into crystal. / When I was small, I ran crying: I don’t remember drawing these blue lines on my arms. / I scrubbed and scrubbed at my veins. / Now, this body bleeds an insistence against life. / Irregular and purposeless: I dissolve / waiting for the flood like a salt flat waits for rain. / I know what veins are for. / Finding, piercing or splitting. / Carrying a single pulse / and my mother’s cells. /


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