“The Night Holds Us Both in Silver Hands” and “Men of Letters” — Diode
“Alice is Much Farther Than She Appears” — Fantasy Magazine
“When Your Radiation Oncologist Tells You He is Moving to Michigan Where He Grew Up” — Poetry.onl
“What to Say When a Certain Kind of Man Begs for His Life” — Sugar House Review #24
“Giving What She Got” — Poetry South, 2021
“Our Last Kiss” — Clockhouse #8
What to Say When a Certain Kind of Man Begs for His Life
“Mantids are sometimes called praying mantids or soothsayers (Greek, manti = soothsayer) because their forelegs are held in a supplicatory position resembling prayer. Nearly 2,000 species have been described.”
—Timothy Gibb, Contemporary Insect Diagnostics
When I say you’re a snack I mean
for real. Look at you. You got the motion,
that roll and roll swagger. The way you swivel
your head and track me with those big red eyes—
you see what I’m not: the petal-limbed orchid,
the dancing devil’s flower, hands up. No unicorns
here, either; I’m just like other girls. And I’m not
a leaf or a ghost, I couldn’t hide if I wanted to.
I pray out in the open. I can leap like a cat, adapt
in mid-air. I can tear a hummingbird right out
of the blue, a different kind of honeyeater. Isn’t
that what you came for? You already lost your
head for me, though you’ll tell yourself it’s all
for the thrill, all for the kids. And when I turn
back for that first kiss, you’ll ignore every
warning, even the last: My God, look at you.
Look at what you made me do.
Giving What She Got
“The horizontal slit of an octopus’s eye is a door that judges us.”
—Aimee Nezhukumatathil, World of Wonders
The slit of your mother’s eye is a cracked door that slams
shut. She has eight arms to haul you from the coral cave
of the dressing room, fillet your fish-white belly and rippled
thighs, eight arms to tow you under the vicious kitchen light
to check your face for hooks and scars. She used to think
you’d be a beautiful girl, she always says, like her mother
before her. I used to think you’d be beautiful. But this, here,
and this—such a shame. The damage is forever, she believes,
and you believe it, too, even when you don’t. What damage?
you ask, Where? and she won’t answer, because who answers
the obvious? Her beak, though tucked away, is strong enough
to shatter houses, scrape out the soft meat inside. She is soft
meat, too, boneless in the water. It doesn’t matter. Or does it?
She is only giving what she got. You are boneless in her arms.
The suckers tear at you, leaving open mouths of flesh that dread
the sting of salt. When it comes, it tastes like love, and not.
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