it is not safe for a woman by Quinn Rennerfeldt

of her age / to appear alone / in public / in the evening / to be nude / in this location / to make eye contact / with a stranger / on a well-lit road / after 8 pm / to be sick / in her generation or / to be outside of the walls or / to be seen / to work here / or to have sex / in water / to possess power or / to be / in the fifth month or / to be in the path of a raging bull / on her own / to wander / in this state / to stop and help a driver / who is Western / who is really searching / to wear high heels / in the wood or / to leave her family and / take a long drive / to relocate or / to return home / to walk / down the streets of Tuscumbia and / speak her truth or / go to the bathroom at night / in the world / while living alone / to give a strange man specific directions / who still has her uterus / or her baby / to experience certain awful acts / in her twenties and / to try racing / to be totally feminine or / to never wear a skirt / to get there in the mountains / by bus / to walk anywhere by herself / to walk such great distances / to collect water.


Quinn Rennerfeldt studied creative writing at the University of Colorado at Boulder and currently lives in San Francisco with her daughters, husband, and menagerie. Her heart is equally wed to the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains. Her work can be found in Slipstream, Bird’s Thumb, Mothers Always Write, Punch Drunk Press, and elsewhere, among others. She was awarded the 2015 Peseroff Prize for Poetry.

photo by Ben White