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The Red Queen in her crown. YA & adult poetry. Love & relationships. I preserve moments in the glistening amber of language. #WhirlingIntoFlame now available.

Being with him was a kick in the head. But I was lonesome and later, complacent. By Julia R. DeStefano

Photo by Gabor Barbely on Unsplash

Being with him was a kick in the head. But I was lonesome and later, complacent. If you can’t trust a man who tells you he wants to be with you, what can you trust? And if confessions are shared moments before death, did they really happen?

We sat on a park bench cracking jokes. I was a fledgling music journalist assigned to my first cover story. Andrew* was a celebrity by New England standards. I should have known right…

The ping pong ball of silence ricochets from wall-to-wall, reminding me that I am the Emily Dickinson of my time. By Julia R. DeStefano

Photo by Alex Mihai C on Unsplash

The ping pong ball of silence ricochets from wall-to-wall, reminding me that I am the Emily Dickinson of my time. She, too, lived through a pandemic — tucked away in her space from an invisible pestilence and the sadness that engulfed her. In this, the umpteenth month of upheaval, my writing is braver than ever before. My once timid voice has become louder. I find myself languishing between depression and flourishing. Most days, I am the…

One of the loveliest and sexiest things that can be said to the right woman is: “Tell me what you want.” By Julia R. DeStefano

I was (probably) the closest I will ever come to a 1960’s s** kitten the other night.

No, really. In a stroke of genius, my hairdresser decided he was going to wrap my hair in velcro rollers, and put me under the dryer for what felt like forever. He then instructed two sets of hands to remove the rollers and pin-up my locks one-by one to ensure they would last. Imagine my surprise when one set of hands belonged to a former student of mine. She recognized me by my hair, no…

A poem by Julia R. DeStefano

Photo by Jake Weirick on Unsplash

Amusement Miles

“Take me to the water,” I whisper.

My Amusement Mile,

Coney Island of your mind

where eyes become hands.

Once, they called it the Pleasure Wheel

and I believe it, too.

A strong man.

Provider of a heavenly ascent.

But first, the Zipper.

The Sea Dragon gaining speed with each cycle.

Coming up against one another

like bumper car enthusiasts

in a thrilling rollercoaster ride

through the Tunnel of Love.

Hearts in a tilt-a-whirl.

Minds in a Scrambler.

An intense force to propel us into the next state.

Sharing the extreme urge…

A poem by Julia R. DeStefano

Photo by Rhett Wesley on Unsplash

Word Witch

“I love it when you get your naughty eyes,”

he tells me -

though his are far naughtier.

I like to swim the depths of those oceans,

wondering how he got them.

Because there’s always a story.

A first time.

I remember playing love witch.

Vibrating in the chants of love me, love me

as girls do in their Stevie twirl.

The words dancing upon my lips

before I could speak.

Because even then, I knew what I needed.

I’d look for my bedroom eyes

in the mirror’s gaze.

Marilyn as my…

A poem by Julia R. DeStefano

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash


I looked at this boy

radiant with my legs in his lap.

His soft gaze traveling from me

to the television and back again.

His fingertips dancing upon the worlds

of my silken skin.

Running their own bases.

Thinking of more than just scoring.

And I wanted to ask him:

“How is it that you are peace like a crystal river?

A library after hours?

The North Star?”

Hoping he’d let me drink it down

as eagerly as Alice did.

Because I’d never known a creature so gentle.

The combination to my intricate locks

written on his compass heart.

Easy like a Sunday morning drive

while it whispers to mine,

Shhhh, settle down

before offering it a place to rest and a pillow.

But we don’t say such things outside of poetry,

so I squeezed him tighter.

© Julia R. DeStefano

A poem by Julia R. DeStefano

Photo by Yoann Boyer on Unsplash


Thrust-upon silence envelops like a fog.

Making each of my barefooted steps

seem massive on the hardwood.

Floorboards creaking in the eerie quiet.

Time and again,

my heart is ripped from me within these walls.

No words of remorse

for the woman setting her heart into a box

until she regains the energy to reinstall it.

Sometimes weeks later.

But there is a boy with a voice that soothes

to the point of weightlessness.

My tireless hero unafraid to retrieve

the needle and crimson thread

to stitch me back up

because he knows…

A poem by Julia R. DeStefano

Photo by Peter Kasprzyk on Unsplash

Into the Blue

If Johnny’s paradise was coffee with June,

was it paradise lost without her -

and did he tell her this?

Or were they like Vladimir and Vera,

waiting in earnest for words that never came,

or came much later than expected

because they thought time would pause for them?

Like Edgar in his longing for the pigeon post.

Passing hours alongside the Green Fairy.

Desirous for light words to join with his darkness.

Do I ache to know

like Emily ached during a pandemic

as the core of her being was…

A poem by Julia R. DeStefano

Photo by Clément ROY on Unsplash

Waking the Lion

I’m a brilliant thing,

but he set free the lioness.

Finger to finger, making me his.

Now I am 2.0 on the hunt.

I tried to stamp her out.

But I’m caught deep in her -

this cat breathing heavily in the entryway.

Sweltering in the heat and licking her lips.

She is me, and I am her in heightened everything.

These words that rush through me

faster than I can write them.

Our breath exerting some life-affirming elixir.

I think of him at my desk.

Further down, my darling.


Julia R. DeStefano

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