by Amy Kinsman
i. at fifteen, my body comes in all at once —
all that tender flesh where before only bones have been.
the changing room echoes wet
with tongues licking chops.
make no mistake, girls are carnivores
and this is starving season.
i hold your hand like i hold my breath,
eyes fixed on the floor.
don’t you dare. don’t you fucking dare bitch,
my heartbeat rabbit fast,
my skin red against white underwear,
bottom of the class, last across the line.
if i look for a second,
they’ll yank me back by the hair
make me bare my throat in supplication,
we can smell it on you.
ii. at eighteen, you and i know,
the swiftest way to seal a wound
is with the mouth.
your teeth break my skin;
a ring of blood at the nape of my neck
(men span with fingers,
but only your mark sinks so deep);
my howl dies to a whimper
smothered in your mother’s sheets.
when i am vodka-blind like this,
the dark moves as a pack of strange beasts,
beckoning me home.
your sober lips hush against my back
and the bark behind the door
i think that you can hear.
babe, don’t leave me with my hands tonight
babe, tonight i’ve got this fear.