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The first time that morning, your face stole
from rasps lanterned: chariot of sun

racing gold in the glare of rays, shaking
patterns meant for your wing-tipped hull. Here,

the slept lion in my peer through forest's wrench
when woken. Your men slick with spear grease

and battle have mangled my wounds; bouquet to bruise.
So much for a lover’s touch in dropped shards

of rain, so much for laughter at a lorikeet’s prattle
when tender struck vulpine on skin. For you, the hiss

of curves. I stood there under your shadow. Proud
with breaths clinched of mist. For you, the whiting swan

of heart, ever pure. Never tell I must inveigle if I am to procure
only woes, only brutes of my own; for the seraph
that I was before rabid; trapped with fangs feisty.
Once I loved past fathoms, past feral.

Once and for all, you had me damned darkling, childless—
bedtimed like the forever stiffness of a corpse.

Rushda Rafeek serves as a Fiction Editor for The Missing Slate magazine.  Her works have appeared / are forthcoming in Yellow Chair Review, Visual Verse, Through the Gate, and Noble/Gas Quarterly, among others.  She is currently based in Sri Lanka.
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8 Jul 2024

The statue of that gorgeous and beloved tyrant, my father, stands in a valley where the weather has only ever been snow.
Panic will come / for every fuckwitted one of us
Neural-lace, my brain interfaced
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