Two Serious Ladies is a small online magazine to promote writing and art by women.

The magazine was created in 2012 by Lauren Spohrer, who regrets how slowly she responds to submissions.

It’s named for the 1943 short novel by Jane Bowles. The novel contains the line:

“I wanted to be a religious leader when I was young and now I just reside in my house and try not to be too unhappy.” 


Three Poems by Mary-Kim Arnold

WORK AND PRAY “None of us is leading quite the life we were at all prepared for.”                -Renata Adler, Speedboat 1. people are starting to come back but they        are not the right people people are moving away but they are not the right people I have said terrible things and I          have meant them 2. you say tell him I sent you tell him         rust is seeping in through the dents don’t you see it        it is starting already look closely         when it rains don’t you see it 3. we ate and drank in our work clothes and we        laughed we were canaries      in coal mines and birds in the hand anyway my point was       anyway         this was my point we grew up poor       we spent our days on beach chairs lined up on the blacktop we were thirsty          we thumbed through drugstore magazines 4. now in your city      light slices across the damp grass in the late afternoon now in your city you offer        your white belly to the sun          dog city all your dogs 5. female fig wasps lay eggs in figs you tell me but if she enters the wrong kind of fig she will die           trapped inside and so hungry        we were riding the escalator down to the train platform and you               turned to me don’t you see it it is starting already the brush of your hand on my knee as we rode       the train in silence facing forward        barely breathing don’t you see it   IN APPROXIMATION I tell you that I am afraid of dying and you shrug it off          you say age is just a number like the price of beef or of        real estate nearly two thousand square feet           but the neighborhood is in transition         and by that she means she is afraid to walk at night         after you left         for the last time it rained for days it        rained and water collected at the entrance        to the tunnel        your hands          still imprinted on my shoulders from when you          flattened me against the tunnel wall you weren’t listening         you were watching for children to run past us chasing a stray ball or collecting sticks      it rains and then it doesn’t         real estate is bought            and sold you pressed so hard         against me you left bruises           later I undressed        slipped rainwater from        my shoulders let it fall          to the floor and left it there      like my sweater still buttoned in approximation       of this fragile human form   WATERSPOUT LANDSPOUT TORNADO what set off the smoke alarm this morning        you know I would watch all the buildings of this city burn down to the ground if I could do you remember the days we floated past the grand fazioni in the lagoon how I wanted more          how I wanted all the men who grinning beneath the wide brims of their straw hats licked their lips          their trousers creased all the women draped in sundresses soaked through to their rosebud nipples let us praise all the books of maps we drew with our fingers while we floated on our backs         drifting        dissolving the funnel clouds that swallowed up all the smaller acts of weather         waterspout landspout tornado they called our tornado a rare occurrence         as if that were enough to explain us as if that were enough to explain my preoccupation with the birthmark on your left ear         I have sketched all the embattled plazas in the dirt have given names to all the sacred places      called them st cecilia’s lantern and st. lucie’s wishing well and st. sebastian’s balustrade and turret        write this down down at the piazza we will dance        our fingers interlaced       is this all that you had hoped for        alone      backlit        here are the hours I have fathered up for you in my cupped hands         here are the maps I have drawn        here is the nape of my neck        take it in your mouth           I predict another tornado will upend us as for you       you have made yourself a landing place for birds all the tourists throw bread at your feet     Mary-Kim Arnold's writing has appeared at Tin House (online), The Rumpus, Wigleaf, HTML Giant, and Sundog Lit. Her poetry collection, Awake, Location was a finalist for the 2013 Kundiman Prize. She holds an MFA in Fiction from Brown University. She maintains a personal blog at and lives in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

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