Sep 12

Kitty Genovese Names Her Fourteen Wounds

by Jennifer Martelli

The first shouldered the new moon sky.

The second was a single blue oculus on the tail of a fearful peacock.

Here was the last wound that could have saved me.

There’s the mouth below the mouth across my throat.

Three wounds killed the dark brown bats flitting around my face.

And that wound down there let out the baby I would never have.

A bouquet of asters: so many wounds gathered close. And still: who knows
which one was the fatal one? So many wounds
like the ice slivers in that first amber Manhattan that breaks sobriety.

Another eye, a human one, no, two eyes staring up at the globe lamp, looking for God.

And another mouth opened up, tried to cry for my mother, like
in that nightmare of not being able to run.

Labia majora, those swollen lips wet with blood.

The next-to-last wound almost swallowed up a praying mantis.

The very last was the small palm of a woman calling kitty, kitty, kitty,
kitty, kitty, kitty.





Jennifer Martelli is the author of The Uncanny Valley, Apostrophe, and After Bird. Her work has appeared in Thrush, [Pank], Glass Poetry Journal, Five-2-One, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal. Jennifer Martelli is the recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant in Poetry. She is a book reviewer for Up the Staircase Quarterly, as well as a co-curator for The Mom Egg VOX Folio.


Art by art editor Michelle Johnsen

Michelle Johnsen  is a nature and portrait photographer in Lancaster, PA, as well as an amateur herbalist and naturalist. Her work has been featured by It’s Modern Art, Susquehanna Style magazine, Permaculture Activist magazine,, EarthFirst! Journal, Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, and used as album art for Grandma Shake!, Anna & Elizabeth, and Liz Fulmer Music. Michelle’s photos have also been stolen by AP,, The Daily Mail, and Lancaster Newspapers. You can contact her at mjphoto717 [at]