The Rocks in Jane’s Purse

weigh her down. New York
collects under her fingernails as she adds more stones
during the eleven-block walk from work.

Jane reaches in when groaning cars lurk
beside her. With every Nice ass, baby
she sends chunks of the city skipping
across hoods and through windshields. Tires screech
and she takes off
running.

Jane arrives home late. Her purse
empty. Her shoulders still
heavy.

She takes off
her clothes and lets the showerhead spit angry wasps
on her blotched back. She stays
inside its range for hours, locking
the door, leaving the curtain open. Laminate flooring blisters,
swelling like her chest
when she coughs. Her tongue pushes pebbles
through the gaps of her teeth.

They tumble down her body,
leaving bruises
before falling to the rushing current below. Jane waits
until she is certain the drain is not clogged
and coughs again. Her shoulders sag
a little less.

Paige LewisPaige Lewis received her BA from the University of South Florida and has recently been accepted into the MFA program at Florida State University. Her work has appeared in literary magazines such as Womenarts Quarterly, Northwind, Stone Highway Review and The Bakery. She can be contacted directly at