Julianne Berokoff


If virgins are spotted with rose petal
cheeks and pale dresses
every girl in church is accounted for

At night           doors are all locked
One girl slides her fingers
between the curtains and pulls one aside

She flutters with her friends and a phone rings
       they’re here          lights blacken and her feet slip
                                 into stilettoes

Her quiet clicking walk leads the line
of leather skirts                    out the window
to an open car door

She sits on one lap       in a flush
Virgins             spotted with rose petal cheeks


WWBD (What Would Beyonce Do)

If I were a
            Queen, I’d probably choose a corset bodysuit, too.
Lace, to decorate my neck             and palms.

Hair piled on my head, I’d pray the Bible lived
            in my uterus as I stood
            at the altar with a baseball
                                         bat under my skirt.

Stare at the rotation of faceless men.

             the heaviness of their hands move
             over my breasts
                         in turns
                         as the elders smile

                                                 at the ceiling.

I learned a woman has many
duties. I learned life is a stack of boxes.
I learned I had the best fucking pussy
at fourteen.

I kept very still the years after.
This skirt is very old.

                I were a Queen, I’d tear the fabric
                from my waist, and stand        for a moment

                in my skin.

I’d search for glass         (Queens usually choose glass),

but all these treed floors
are dead at my feet.

Shall I rip up the boards? Shatter the crystal chandelier?

No, perhaps I will simply look down

                        the lines of women

waiting            on platform            silent

and step away.

Truthfully, no one will call me Queen.


Whispers the Palm

There is a bolt between my breasts.
I worry its head with a finger bone.

Did the sea give it to you, or the shorn mountains?

I contort across the grass. The leaves are half
buried in river clay—sun baked

my body, a slit of white

and red. I pray the blades bleed the stone thrashing
like wings between my shoulders, whispering
to my hair,

Devil’s child.

Author Portrait

Julianne Berokoff is a writer, painter, and crafter from Southern California, where she studied English and creative writing at California State University, Fullerton. Her work appears in Black Fox Literary Magazine, Buck Off Magazine, The Wayfarer, and on the pages beneath her cat's sleeping body.

View the website of Julianne Berokoff