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the goblin queen hosts a feast of oil, and the night
slips down my throat as a dream.
every soup wears a sheen; every fish belly shudders
have you ever known such simple and supple desserts?

she is cast in points, oh Queen of Under Everything—
blessed are the copper teeth, righteous are the agate nails!
horns curled precious ‘round delicate ears, nose hooked
as a question toward bloodsweetened lips.

above, I dare say, there are those who call us sister-things.
and I tell her of the Jew who swallowed her mother’s diamonds;
passed them; ate them; passed them again;
carried her bitter hoard all the way to liberation day.

goblins do not pass anything, she declares on jagged tongue.
our bellies are as earth-core, our word is as the last.
better an eater than an ancestor,
better to finish the hunger right.

how I covet the dip of her pinky into viscous fossil wine;
my voice is thin as salted water, my myth is bonemeal dry.
I mouth misshapen prayers that were lost to the dark,
grieve the shoes I’ll devour one day for a daughter—

but I smith my silence to an iron gate for the queen
knows nothing of the work that sets you free.
would she cut my throat on such callous ease?
I want to pour out slowly, I don’t even want to stain.



Avi Silver is a spec fic author (Sãoni Cycle), editor (Augur Magazine), poet, and co-founder of The Shale Project. Find their short fiction in Common Bonds: An Aromantic Speculative Anthology, and more of their poetry forthcoming in Uncanny Magazine. Learn more at mxavisilver.com or on Twitter @thescreambean.
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13 May 2024

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