Photo credit: Dina Stander. Listen to Dina read “not fucking around” and “dressing to feel pretty in gimp city.”

not fucking around

I harbor a concern that when
I build a ritual fire for year’s end
setting transformational heat
to what I want to leave behind
once that fire snags my rage
the whole of everything will
burn to the ground
and I don’t wanna be some
feel better phoenix rising from the
ash heap of this terrible year
facing the dangers coming I’m
gonna need the ancient gnarly
not fucking around dragon
woken and hungry for justice
I’m gonna need wings to fly


dressing to feel pretty in gimp city:

1. lower your expectations
2. love your reflection; there is no best angle for naked in the full-length mirror
3. avoid uncomfortable clothing, it will make you miserable, which never feels pretty
4. choose colors that make you smile on the inside
5. no you do not need to give your hair a trim, put the scissors down
6. breathe, it brings oxygen to your brain and apples to your cheeks
7. fake it
8. limp with finesse
9. decide it doesn’t matter
10. admit it does
11. nothing needs to match the cane
12. wear a pad for confidence, only your yoni knows
13. breathe some more
14. keep changing clothes until you know you will feel like yourself
15. unadorned is better than clumsily accessorized
16. let your beauty be seen (only) as much as you want
17. put a stone in your pocket for ballast
18. pretty does not equate to ‘fixed,’ so yes, you can bloom



Dina Stander is a western Massachusetts based poet, End-of-life Navigator, burial shroud maker, and practitioner of radical kinship. Her work has been published in Naugatuck River Review, Silkworm, Breath & Shadow, and various places online. Her first collection of poems, Old Bones & True Stories, was published in 2018 (Human Error Publishing) and a collection of prose and essays is imminent. You can learn more about her projects at