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The Suitors Demand an Audience

Tell them to keep their eyes, their brawn,
the tentacles of their need sticking to my skin.

Their bluff and bluster. Poisoned tongues
saying thirst as spell, hips as prophecy.

I’m loomed together, stars pinned to my hair,
waiting for my ship to come in. No water, but

a dress made of salt. The only blue—my pulse
when I couldn’t get out of bed. My heart’s rough

gem, calcified, fossil of some long-ago feeling—
shatter-ready and stubborn. Everywhere I splinter.

Everywhere they hold dominion. Their hunger
makes me seasick. They would drag me from

my dreams, give me mouth-to-mouth. They
would mark me with their teeth as proof, as

triumph, say it’s because of the animal in me,
when it was always, always, the animal in them.