E-ISSN 2457-0265


Vol. 4 Issue 3

Anesce Dremen

Borrowed, Overdue, Leftovers


Indistinguishable from birth, my breasts ascertained arrogant attention by age ten,

the pretentious playground and poppycock for a child desiring any body save her own.

She collected insults and stored them as scars along protruding flesh. Angry mosquito

bites swelling to accommodate arid apples.

“You should be ashamed of yourself,”


mother’s conviction for growing into a body I couldn’t escape. She never deduced

shame -- degradation was all I cultivated.


Would never know that an elderly man at an unnamed market would reach over my friend to rub his elbow against my left breast. Discarded repetition, a bald masseuse at a forgotten parlor would guide me to download an app to receive a coupon to prolong the massage for half an hour. An extension, a decision, that cost me another encroachment over both loathsome breasts.


Germinated abomination, shoulders sinking forward


as if poor posture could limit the appetite of unwanted hands. Because he’s a good man, I promise. He’s a good man. A god-fearing man; it was the devil who possessed his dreadful body.  


“Don’t hate the sinner; hate the sin.”


The replication two years later, a near stranger. How did he know, how did he know,

to clench the left breast, the same breast, that other molester claimed? How did he know

to preserve lacerations in that bruised playground?


I don’t know how to count the times.


Maybe 4, Maybe 9? Do I include the times I lay silent, stiffened beneath boyfriends, too systematic to speak? Too seared by the inability of my ‘no’? Too attentive of his ignorance of these singing scars, slightly paler than my hue – strategically accentuating my disappointment for having survived. They don’t belong to me anymore.

                                                            If I could reject these breasts, I’ll release the left one;

but it’s impossible to abort one fetus if you’re pregnant with twins.





Our First Dance


I apologize for occupying this body.

You deserve to dance with someone refined.

Extend a hand to dance and I’ll flinch,

terrified of being hit again.

I’ve fled from mouths wanted and unwanted,

beards bruising unwilling breasts.

I’ll deny compliments of my appearance,

fabricating fiction of just more men gaining

forged permission to “insert Tab A into Slot B.”

Extend a hand again, offering to dance,

and I’ll accept, fearing violence and violation

if I say no. Unable to say no.

It’s not rape if I say yes to everyone, right?

Whatever the choreography, still I stumble —

apologetic, unyielding, two cursed feet.

So, please, don’t ask me to dance,

I’m unworthy of your tempo.

Kisses planted along my neck, so cherished,

at times render me lifeless, sobbing – slave to flashbacks.

Please don’t whisper sweet nothings into my ears,

I’ll only stumble and stutter in this swing.

Twirl me by hand, lead me nevertheless,

realize I withhold my breath, unknowing,

such a frail subject subject to fainting.

I apologize for the absence of

long, sexy legs. I’ve denied you a floor, a setting,

hacked my legs instead, sewn together by sighing scars.

My body is riddled, rippled with trauma:

twisted, collapsed knees, sobbing tease

condemned whore who never learned to walk properly.

So please, my dear,

don’t request a dance from this crumb of a nightmare.





Longview Autumnal Flush


abandoning my initial plans to dive deeper into spoken

Commonalities, this is a companion I aspire to have a

conversation with throughout the day.

The rolls of our engagement l i n g e r s

on the tip of the tongue and inner fold of the bottom lip.

As cups are placed down, a returning sweetness

presents mellow, nutty remnants that gather like puckerings of

a pleasant, chalky biscuit.

It detracts from the delicate embrace of hui’gan,

as its crisp pronunciation is yet gentler than astringency.

These notes are the intentions of caramelized pecans 

                        removed early.

My saccharine humsafar merges with an astringent path:

The shy, mellow orange of a blushing sunset observing that first kiss.

And as the second day rises,

            The burnt marmalade overshadows an intimidated sunset.

This is the collection of freshly prepared grape juice, a watery vineyard.

And as this third day departs,

The hue of mahogany merges with a downcast departing:

            The aching summer of cast, chewed pine needles

draping as cascades as an elaborate salutation for autumn’s approach.








Letters from Within


“God was looking out for you.”


I couldn’t save you, mommy. You

conceived me, but I aborted you.


“Why don’t you just leave,”

Society scraped condemnation

as I fermented within the womb.


Amniotic fluid inserted, liquid cushion,

noise-cancelling headphones to mute

forced tongues, foreshadows of my

father’s rage. “Shut your damn mouth.”


What words, what silence awarded

Saturday’s alarm clock, thrashed

kitchen cabinets, stagnant satisfaction:

“Did I ask for your opinion?” Family:

expired, charred health hazard warning.


Did you speak for our rights, threaten

his dominance as man, god’s selected

head? “Strike me down with lightning

so I don’t have to put up with you.” I

never saw my mother willingly kiss my

father. “Do you want a beating?”


“I swear on my daddy’s grave,

I wish God would kill me now.”

Mommy, did you also pray to

Our Father asking him to deliver

the death of him to whom you

vowed to death do us part? Salvation

stripped for an unwanted conception.


When your first marriage procured three

miscarriages and a stillborn, surely forced

sex in the backseat of a Blazer couldn’t

warrant a pink bastard shrouded in apologetic

acceptance, the silence of a shot-gun wedding.

Did you say yes only after your parents

threatened to disown you? Mommy, you

never answered if I was the byproduct of rape.


As your abusive husband, excuse me, my father

(you never claimed him your partner) shouted

“I wasn’t speaking to you” over abandoned,

chilled mashed potatoes, did you know-- oh,

mommy, did you know as I formed remorsefully

in your scarred womb, as He shouted “I’m so sick

of hearing your mouth run,” that one day I’d pack

two bags and run away? “It’s your damn fault.” I

entombed you within the silence you throttled me in.


Mommy, when you never considered abortion,

the greatest sin a woman can commit, did you

know that this ginger child would fail her first

suicide attempt at age eleven? “I wish God would

just take me. I can’t take no more of your mouth.”

Because it is still legal for a man to beat his wife

so long as the object is thinner than the width of his thumb.

What font size were the words he choked us with?

Inner child, scapegoat, you cannot eradicate 18

years of abuse within the tomb of the womb.







Night Entries


Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx the moment

in which they capture me,

Xxxxxx within

view of the yellow slide

and three swings that were

denied cheerful children as company.

But I’m riding passenger in a seat

With xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Another man I’ve shared my body with. Somehow selective.


I snuck into the xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx,

Xxx the white closet where yellow highlighter marked

I WANT TO DIE on the inside of the left door.

That tan, cinched waist, with a long zipper. Dress.

still hangs on the xxxxxx  of the closet.


That’s the dress I want.


His assault resting on the ridges of the zipper


Dreadful temptation, casual justification 

I returned to take that dress --

uninvited invasion

Releasing jailbait from constriction


His Dreadful temptation, casual justification 

I returned to take that dress --resting on

the ridges uninvited invasion --

Releasing jailbait from constriction of the zipper














About the Poet

Anesce Dremen is a first generation college student who studied in four cities in China (Xi’an, Beijing, Chengdu, and Suzhou) with the support of the Critical Language Scholarship and the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship. She graduated from Carthage College with degrees in Chinese and English literature (creative writing concentration). Her bilingual work has been featured in the Midwest Journal of Undergraduate Research, Carthage Vanguard, the Xi’an Daily, and Shanghai Poetry Lab. While her academic work takes a critical lens to culture, death, and intersectional feminism, her creative writing ranges from fiction to nonfiction to poetry. While updating her travel blog, she can be found with a tea cup in hand, traveling between the U.S., China, and India.

Her journey can be followed at @WritersDremen &

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Published by The Alternative.