Stella Padnos is a Greenpoint, Brooklyn resident. She was a finalist in Glimmer Train's poetry open and received 3rd Place distinction in the 2000 California State Poetry Society Contest. Stella is Associate Publisher of Rattapallax Press. Her recent work can be found on, and Stella sends a shout-out to her peeps, especially Jonathan and Meghan!

"Barbie" appeared in Smartish Pace

Four Poems by Stella Padnos


aluminum silver-white
aluminum light in weight
won't corrode in soil
storage tanks highway signs
chemically manic reactive
protects with turtle oxide coat
aluminum rolls off the tongue into
consumer durables spark plugs utensils
plentiful metal in earth's crust
combines in soil and alloys
present in garnet
a topaz gift
Foil my Plan.

Campbell's Vegetarian Vegetable
or, The Alphabet Soup

This bowl looks like autumn.
Colors settle heavy
and branches reach translucence with celery.
Carrots fall to the floor of the tomato sea.
Only letters, the blood of imagination,
can float in red.
The potato is a sea-monkey dehydrated,
desperate for a can of water's blessing.
How "I" dangles from the spoon
while green beans rest comfortably.
Salt will preserve our moments together.
You reassure me that something living in metal for so long
can still steam.

I have eaten my words.

Bubble Yum Woman

Wintermint gum is in
a chewing woman.
Friendships have lapsed as space will;
family is distant as time does.
The gum is reckless
and tickled by teeth;
the woman laughs with her friend.
Strangers are flavors
of sticks or chunks.
The woman knows personalities
of pieces per chew.
Cheeks bloom for bubble-blowing
and the hollow of without.
Sometimes the gum is instantly stale:
a sign of gum's sadness
and the woman's face will sag
like wrappers unravelling
over piece
by piece.


No matter what form your body takes.
Your mouth is a gaping jar of air, eyes half aloof.
No tongue to slow you with speech or kissing
Fingertips to never print your memories.
A halo of fingers in protest.
You need more hands to make up for lack of sense.
Your pelvis is most bendable, feet a smudge, mind stilled out.
A self is its surface, no frame remaining, a chrysalis in a firm case.
You are in prom light, time knocking on the outside.
As life falls through my fingers, you collect it on your
Eyes, dusty but easily cleaned.
Barbie, carry me across these minutes into your puddled lips,
into the dismembered heaven of your body.
Curl the ends of my story as perfectly as your hair.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
I want to rest my head in your coma.