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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.


Amy Kinsman

Amy Kinsman (they/them) is a bisexual, genderfluid poet from Manchester, England. As well as being founding editor of Riggwelter Press, they are also associate editor of Three Drops From A Cauldron. Their debut pamphlet & was joint winner of the Indigo Dreams Pamphlet Prize 2017.

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