Well-Lit Rooms

by Dante Fuoco

1st Place – Flash 405, August 2020: “Invented Language”

Flash 405, August 2020: Invented Language - Well-Lit Rooms by Dante Fuoco


I will be safe, I tell the doctor who prodes my penis.
I want to be safe, I tell the man, my daddy tonight.
Just to be safe, I can water you, I tell the houseplant

lying the way men do
in well-lit rooms.



Judge’s Comments:
Well-Lit Rooms expertly deploys familiar language to electric effect. I loved watching the word “safe” shift and squiggle into something new, something decidedly other than “safe,” with every subsequent use.

Dante Fuoco is a queer solo performer, poet, and educator living in Brooklyn. He staged his latest piece “no! i be seal” off-off-Broadway. His writing has been anthologized by Bold Strokes Books and appears most recently in KGB Bar Lit. He manages arts and restorative justice programming at a grassroots organization based in The Bronx.

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Photo credit: 王维家