Size / / /

            Μήστρα: Shape-changer

The first time
It is hard; the first time
She is fucking terrified—
This shape of a girl.
The shape of emptiness around it.

He is smiling at her—
This man, the mark.
He is
Remote, a projection.
She is a lie.

Together, they are a mirage,
The false joining
Where sky meets sea.

Winedark—winedrunk—wineblacked-out:
And, like the money,
She is gone.

(like his wallet she is empty emptiness empty-shaped)

            Now again.
            Now.

            Again.

(she is a bird a fish a horse)

                  Ἐρυσίχθων: Earth-tearer

Disease rends the flesh—
A butcher—it neatly joints
His still breathing corpse,
Separating meat from bone,
Offering up its choicest cuts to the hunger
That will not leave him.
Thick, godless construction of a man—
Big as a tree trunk,
Felled by the gnawing in his gut.
He is diminished,
Sunken, as though sickness
Tunnels under his skin.

Just one ice chip, he pleads.
Something to stem this ravenous wound.

He wears his prognosis to match his eyes:

            Son of a bitch.
                                                Not long now.

                  Μεταμόρφωσις: Metamorphosis

Each new shape
Means the death of the last,
So that all that is left
Is the change—
            These spare moments to jingle in one's pockets
            To the comfortless hymn of life life life!

His threadbare hope hangs like a second-hand suit.
She has plastered on her own shape like an untrue smile.
Everyone is pretending.

            Don't ask about the money.

Denials will part her lips—
This language is a Gordian knot,
And parting slips in duty or in love
Cannot be unraveled.
No honest stroke may cleave
The complex tangle of their actions.
Once acted, once departed,
There is no chance for return.

So, like his body,
She is consumed.

(like his hunger she is no longer)

            The future stretches
            Before her—

            A blank horizon.

(she is)




Kate Conover (cailin.liath@gmail.com) lives in Brooklyn, New York. Previous work appears in theNewerYork's EEEL.
Current Issue
17 Jan 2022

The land burns so hot and high tonight that Let can see its orange glow even from the heart of The City of Birds. It burns so thick she can taste the whole year’s growth of leaves and branches on her lips. It burns so fast she can almost hear the deer and cottontails scream as flames outrun them and devour them whole.
I writhe in bed with fever, chills, chatters and shivers. The near becomes far as the far comes close.
No one gets married before going to space.
Wednesday: Unity by Elly Bangs 
Friday: The Cabinet by Un-Su Kim, translated by Sean Lin Halbert 
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