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époque press
pronounced: /epƏk/
definition: /time/era/period

Cleopatra’s Flashlight


As if foreshadowed, it then happened some nights 

after your boyfriend said I had that Slavic poise, 


and mine discovered your Vampire teeth. Girls’ night

in: we stripped naked on your bed and you covered


your breasts, laughing away at those tiny

tents that I saw as pyramids. My udders


were wobbling across the bedsheet. 

Our lips brushed against each other 


as though hollow eggshells wanting a yolk. 

You wound your legs around mine to hide


what they wanted to see most, we assumed, 

and I held my breath, for that was all I had. 


The overexposed photograph showed four legs 

and milk-breasts trining pharaohs. It was just a game 


to turn them on, we said, we know what boys want,

and I almost forgot my shame, my swelling. Maybe 


our tongues were actually touching then. I can’t 

remember at all that time we drank Palma Nights 


and made out in the fields. You ripped off my lips,

I tasted blood. Pooled between my thighs you forgot 


to take a pic. It didn’t matter much, I said, 

it was just another hot story for the boys.




Dandelion withered in the wind

spreading seeds I want you


like Sappho, summoning Venus  

in a chariot, the winged devil


she pulls strings while I 

throw an eye on your dad 


core wound: dapple grey horse 

on wetly-trodden path [crus cerebri— 



swinging in this August 

hammock under the moon

come crashing down blazing stars


cut: and you are the meadow


Villanelle For My Adonis


Halfway pierced through the portal in pain,  

Hands begging for love, twisted spine stuck,  

My eyes pleading Adonis’s reign.  


Fallen Venus with nothing to gain, 

The darkest hour has not yet struck, 

Halfway pierced through the portal in pain. 


My tongue’s sweet heaven against your vein,

You hold on to the cold blood I suck, 

My eyes pleading Adonis’s reign. 


Waddling on cold feet, I burned the brain,

Immortal Adonis— my ill luck, 

Halfway pierced through the portal in pain. 


My bloodstained lips are speaking insane,

The high priests’ fatal verdict: moonstruck. 

My eyes pleading Adonis’s reign. 


In your poison garden I remain, 

Golden hands rape the flowers you pluck, 

Halfway pierced through the portal in pain,  

My eyes pleading Adonis’s reign.

The Evolution of Walpurga Hausmännin (ca. 1510 – 1587) 

Walpurga Hausmännin was a German midwife executed for witchcraft, vampirism, and child murder in Augsburg, Bavaria. The confession she made under torture set a precedent for the stereotypical relationship between witch and devil later commonly used in many witch trials. 


O Federlin, you haunt me

at this late hour again, 

twist my faith, you foe, 

but your eyes are jewels, 

my Prince, your evil light, 

and my widowed hair grows,

goldened with your ointment. 


You cackle for I was named

after a saint, my tongue curls 

the wicked words: come, firestarter, 

lie with me and stroke my sin, 

I confess: in a dark dream my hands

held limp babies, and my mouth 

drank lusty blood. 


Breastless, breathless,

armless, stripped to the core,

I drag my feet, carry my head

to the gallows and shut my eyes.

I burn for you Federlin,

my flames lick your love,

and my ashes run in rivers—

Nesting Doll: Venus von Willendorf  


Formed from lustful hands, 

figurine as the symbol of birth,

lips creased in a smile, be still 

Goddess of Sex, arch your back. 


Where is your home? Lost

wanderer, like Sarah Baartman

ogled dead or alive in skin or bones,

they prod your bum, wiggle your thighs. 


Men crawl at your feet and moan 

in sheer awe, you twist and turn

against their wounded loose end,

Goddess of Sex, arch your back. 


Women cry out: melon-belly!

Obscene behind! But your beauty’s 

a crystal, so clear to the hand, 

they prod your bum, wiggle your thighs. 


You’re birthed from earth, unrooted 

from your land, their glassy eyes roll

in your navel like lost marbles, 

Goddess of Sex, arch your back. 


They’d give you gold to bathe in your lap,

you ache to go home and rest on a hill, 

they prod your bum, wiggle your thighs,

Goddess of Sex, watch your back.

1. Venus von Willendorf is an Upper Palaeolithic female figurine found in 1908 at Willendorf, Austria. Parts of the body associated with fertility and childbearing have been emphasized, leading some researchers to believe that the Venus of Willendorf and similar figurines may have been used as fertility goddesses.

2. Sarah Baartman (c.1789– 29 December 1815) was a Khoikhoi woman who was exhibited as an attraction in 19th-century Europe under the name Hottentot Venus due to her steatopygic body type (i.e. substantial levels of tissue on the buttocks and thighs). After her death, her remains continued to be exhibited until 1974. Only in 2002, her remains were repatriated and buried in her homeland in South Africa.


Christina Hennemann is a poet and prose writer based in Ireland. Her poetry pamphlet “Illuminations at Nightfall” was published by Sunday Mornings at the River in 2022. She’s a recipient of the Irish Arts Council’s Agility Award ’23 and the winner of the Luain Press Prize. She was shortlisted in the Anthology Poetry Award & Dark Winter Contest, and longlisted in the National Poetry Competition. Her work is forthcoming or appears in Poetry Ireland, Poetry Wales, The Iowa Review, Skylight 47, The Moth, York Literary Review, Ink Sweat & Tears, Moria, and elsewhere. 


Of the poems featured here, Christina states:


‘My poems relate to the theme of desire in showing how desire has been used historically to suppress and silence marginalised groups. "Cleopatra's Flashlight" and "Myelination" explore bisexual desire in a society that seeks to put people in clearly labelled boxes. "Villanelle for My Adonis", "The Evolution of Walpurga Hausmännin" and "Nesting Doll: Venus von Willendorf" address the demonised and destructive side of desire: condemning women as insane or accusing them of witchcraft were two historically employed strategies to silence women's sexual desire and use it against them. With these poems, I intend to give a voice to these forgotten herstories.’ 


You can find out more about Christina via the following link:

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