The stag’s heart spoke (as it passed
through my throat) of desire.
I’ve held the strangest of strangers.
To swallow, the quickest way to close
that distance. I’m still so hungry for
the tribe of shadows that rubs
its fur against my night-time
and there are no bars, but bars
of trees. Yes, the forest speaks
with many voices.
All of them say Lie down,
die here. Yes, stomachs split
and organs fall from
ordained order. A liver jewels
up at me through the murk
of dream. All beings fall
through each other, through topsoil,
into deep cradles of rain.
I’m afraid I’ll never know another
body, only the bloom
of impact. And in the dark
we’re all moon-blind, heat-
seeking. I’ve seen the cavity-
colored tracks in antlers,
ticks balloon with pooled blood,
and fleas rise like ghosts from drying
hides. How deep I’ve looked
with my gleaming knives.
Their eyes are open,
but their gaze is closed.
Like them, I’ve learned to veil
my face in breath, white as vapor-
bone. Behind it, my teeth
press my tongue until I can taste
my own blood, the tang of steel
bars in the rain.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 17, Issue 4.
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