Before the Skin Flooded like a River with Hair & Left 

by Duncan Slagle

 

 

the bloodwhorl in the corners
of every mirror, leashed to the backs of strangers, to

shatter freight & notice
hundreds of glimmering sisters in the fog, cut open

by light. We who nettle
the glare of curious men. With our nailbeds collapsed

but red swiped over
a valley unlike the site of our birth. Detached from the

fog we grew our hunger
in-tumult-hunger for a different body. They want your face

but softer, less of your
fur above the lip like another man's idea of you? Monster,

to queer your violence
or to mourn your violence the only way I know how? Queer. 

//

My boss won't let me polish
my nails unless I remain unshaven-to maintain balance.

He worries about my sisters
but headlines blur death in low visibility, going unnoticed

like blood in red clay.
Each morning is the same, a different stranger stares 

on my way to work & 
I bury my hands in my lap. Let my hunger vibrate

like a wolf in her gown,
while the men tear at her fur when they reach to touch.