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Seven years I beg men in white
to make a clock of my insides,
to build for me a patient body,
a human one
with moonflowers for eyes.
The doctors say
rage is not a flower.
They tell me to eat
soft and bland for healing.

So I suckle honeysuckle sap
for pleasure and steam sunset
marigolds for distraction
as the sleepless itch for power
swells beyond my belly button.

I sob when my skin first begins
to sting and brittle. My fine baby hairs
sharpen to needle horns while I call
sing and plead, staring
through dull hospital glass
at the bloody hyacinths
bursting across the street. Please,
I would rather bear fruit
than fire.
But my salt calls no army.
I am an echo in a cave.

Flaming intestine sprouts
from my belly, flares to fierce wing.
My screams carry organ pipes
to the desert and birth fields of wild red
milkweed in the open mouths of dunes.
Rage leathers my guts to mottled scale.
I burn everything I touch
and myself, to shriveling pitless cherry.
Reborn in brimstone, my golden
glinting lizard hide straddles the canal
and I hunger for bloom. Cloaked
in silken gowns, heavy beneath
heady magics, the men chant
as a chorus back to me:
no, no, no.



Liz is a gutless wonder—a poet without a large intestine, trying to write gut-punching poems. She received her B.A. in English from the University of Alabama in 2016. Currently, she serves as the Managing Editor of The McNeese Review, and organizes MSU’s graduate reading series. She is the first place recipient of the 2019 Joy Scantlebury Poetry Prize, and her poems have been selected as finalists for Jabberwock Review’s 2019 Nancy D. Hargrove Editors’ Prize in Poetry and F(r)iction’s Winter 2018 Poetry Contest, judged by Kwame Dawes. She lives in Lake Charles, Louisiana, with her (very cute) dog, Rocky.
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13 May 2024

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