Interviewing the City of Austin, TX Concerning the Serial Rapes of Jasmine Bell

Q) How do you know Jasmine Bell?

A) She’s lived at my outskirts since she was born, the child of unfortunate miracles. 

Q) Are you aware that she was raped in the bathroom of one of your ice cream shops?

A) She used to work at an ice-cream shop. Let each flavor that came through the store touch her tongue. Savored it and told her mom matter-of-factly that eating ice cream was part of her job. Then, the hot air of a bathroom. Arms against the wall. Arms against the floor. A drop of his sweat down her throat. She wanted to sink through the tile, drown in its tumultuous ocean but her body would not obey. What an ill-timed miracle, she thought. Of all times to walk on water, why now?  She left her body and watched him use her as a boat. 

This is proof that dead bodies float.

Q) She’s been raped in at least 4 different apartments, one dormitory, one car, and one motel within your city limits. What do you have to say about that?

A) I know I am a home turned graveyard. I know the streets are hard for her to say.

Rundberg. Merrilltown. Penny. Metric. 6th. You think you only have one loaf of bread. One fish. Before you know it my streets are full of fish swimming in wheat. Everything smells like salt and ocean flesh and a moldy meal. 

She’s lost her appetite. 

Q) What did you do about it? Didn’t you even try to get her to leave?

A) She blames me for my stillness. My trees watched and didn’t move a leaf. She looks up at my branches and sees me, arms bloody with wicked fruit. I heard his whispers: “Can’t you see? You stop me from doing the devil’s work.” He nails her to the crucifix and fucks the hope out of her. 

Please leave, I thought.

She turned to me and I knew:

For she so loved the world she gave her demon her one and only body.


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Contributor Notes

JASMINE C. BELL is a poet and artist in Austin, Texas. She currently attends the University of Texas with plans to major in psychology and minor in Mandarin Chinese. She was a member of the UT Spitshine slam poetry team that went to CUPSI from 2015-2017, and will coach the 2018 team. In 2016 Jasmine also competed in the Rustbelt Poetry Slam. She is Co-President of the only poetry organization on UT's campus (Spitshine Poetry). She was a Write Bloody chapbook contest finalist in 2017 and has her poetry published or forthcoming in Vinyl, Monstering Magazine, and Apricity Magazine.