Four Poems

By Victoria McArtor

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Power is

a page of a book or mathematics or
a spouse to scorn or a Christ
to crucify.

Merciful past tense,
go on rearranging.

An elephant is killing
a thousand year old tree
for the nurturance of a single leaf.

Every feather on the African blue tail,
every fin on the tarpon, a fingerprint.


Retail Therapy

“Scientists hypothesize easy women drive down the price of sex.”
– Pew Research Poll.

measure her hemline
with a cultural yardstick allowing
just enough room for ad space

the market demands markdowns
but if that mocking bird don’t sing
whose papa’s gonna buy her
that diamond?

It’s a tough
economic climate change;
blame the sun coming on
too strong spreading the bloom
further and further until petals
halfheartedly explode.

Time to tighten the belt. Is it fifty?
Hell, seventy percent off. You take
her as a steal.


The Lady Macbeth Effect

What I touch
and what touches me
needs washing

if I say more than
that I’ll need to stick
the bar of soap

in my own mouth.
Lavender and
the sounds of

October cooling
the ground outside
my powder room

I save my tears
because there’s no
one here to watch

me cry.
Flotsam rising

from the bubbles
accumulating in the
corner of my lips

I want to worship
something other than
my rancid mind
but the iridescent

capturing of light
catches my mind’s
eye and I

busy myself.
The whole room
needs cleaning.


Try to stay sober

I have no spiritual maturity.

I know even the gods
have gods and a mirror
is more deception than

reflection. I’m a situation
addict watching

the provocative psychological
entrapment of a woman

who allows herself to dance
alone in a crowded room.

This is the rest of minutes.
Any woman, which are you.

Picking nail polish from
the cuticle. All we can do

is try to stay sober
and act like someone who

feels. If there’s some danger
in catching the eye

across the room someone
will pull me in whatever

direction they move my
arms. Start by shaking

hands. A body in motion
stays. When the devil makes
me sin, I’m happy to make him

happy again.


About the Poet
Victoria McArtor is currently pursuing an MFA at Oklahoma State University. She was recently named a member of The Honor Club with Mutual of Omaha. Her poems have appeared in Tupelo Press’ 30/30 Project, PANK, Hobart and others. Her fiction has appeared in Passages North and Cease, Cows. All of the above appears at victoriamcartor.com.