she drags the needle though the red
body of the thread, back stitches
my shoulder blades, my sacrum,
the pulse points at the corners
of my lunates. i keep red just under
the tip of my pitted tongue, but do not
let it loose, do not stop this
staggering. & listen, i’ll admit, i
the stigmata, the gentle puncture.
i want to be bound into the horror
of this body. i want the want, the
desire in someone else’s eyes for this
unholy frame, my graveyard of a
when she says color, i grind out
green, even as the flashback rises up
the tendrils of my throat —
it has been two years since i was first split open,
a red sea set to spill across a mattress, hands
caught in ropes of moonbeam and fluorescence.
i nodded then too. threw myself back into the
what else could my body have been
made for, if not this stringing— what
good is the tolerance if you don’t
know how to put it to use —
all i know is fawn, wax and wane,
count to ten and back, say thank you
every time. i forget where my breath
lives, forget i am more than a
whimpering against someone else’s
knuckles, more than a mess
waiting to be made by any hands
that will have it.
that day, i grew a new jaw, one that knew
how to unlatch itself just right, give the path
of least resistance. for a week after, i ached.
still, i return, again and again.
tonight, i will rub the raw out
of my purpling skin, go out under
the full moon, dig my hands into
the maw of silt, drag up the teeth of
the earth. i will make a lamb of
myself one more time, lay myself
open across another altar. i will tell
her to consume me. she will say
you are asking for more than you can take,
but, of course. of course.
Lip Manegio (they/he) is a Pushcart & Best of the Net nominated poet, organizer, designer, & dyke. Their work has appeared in Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Puerto del Sol, the minnesota review, Tin House, and elsewhere. They hold a BFA in creative writing from Emerson College, serve as editor in chief/jack-of-all-trades at Ginger Bug Press, & are the author of We’ve All Seen Helena (Game Over Books, 2019). Find them at lipmanegio.com.
Art by Lois Emma Harkin