HCE received a lot of high-quality submissions for The Brutal Issue – sadly, too many to fit inside the magazine! So we offered some of our shortlisted contributors the chance to be published on our website.

Keep an eye on our social media for more great writing like this, in the run up to the release of The Brutal Issue…

Skin and Bones

Wanda Harding


the girl emptied herself
it was the only way
when the men came, paid the ma’am the money
and her night behind the curtain began
she left
she couldn’t go anywhere
but she was gone
out of that body being used
out of that body
so unloved
nothing remained but the skin holding together her bones
the men couldn’t hurt skin and bones, they’re just things, objects really
it took away the men’s power
it took away her pain
some of it, anyway


she remembered learning about the holocaust in school
back when she went to school
being haunted by the photographs of mounds of human corpses
piled like wood for a bonfire
she couldn’t sleep for weeks after seeing the photographs
now it seemed almost peaceful,
almost companionable
the skin and bones of the used
draped over each other
one over another
over another
over another


pile of skin and bones
transforming, transmitting
mile after mile


up to the sky

WANDA HARDING is a writer and painter living in Houston, Texas. She explores intuitive vs. disciplined, natural vs. structured, both within ourselves and our culture. She’s interested in the struggle to utilize these opposite energies.
Website: http://www.wandaharding.wix/artist