As Us

A Space for Writers of the World

Vanessa Willoughby – Poetry

Ash Wednesday—
we suck the life from our movable feast
and vermilion worms its way into the cracks and folds
of my blue heaven.
we hurt each other like unlucky outlaws with leather hands, paper-skin easily bruised
with the weight of a pilgrim kiss, palm to palm, wrist to wrist.
watch the wall of Jericho shake, quake,

Mother Mercy uses the rubble for the town lottery
where they baptized me naked in order to make room
for the pinning of a scarlet letter.
ash wednesday blew through July this year
like a flash in the pan casting-couch actress
thirty-one movie-lit days

of coming together and coming apart
unraveling and waiting
sweating out the venom from my words
hoping to cure poisoned roots with poisoned water.

were you always
the snake fooling the charmer?

even in your silence
i want to unzip myself from my skin just
to get closer to you
and even bathing in your coffin silence
i hear war drums.


Vanessa Willoughby headshotVanessa Willoughby
is a graduate of Emerson College and The New School. She has written for The Huffington Post, Paper magazine, FAULT magazine, xoJane, and The Toast. Her work can be found on her blog,

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