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For Tara Cloud Clark

it is your nose i notice first—you demon, you delicacy!—
(I’m something of a collector: eldritch artifacts, all that
your nose, a right wonder for my wunderkammer)
robustly moist, grave-soil-black, with that reciprocating twitch
for every trash pile, blossom’s bravado, bottom’s innuendo
a flagrant organ in full swoon, flaunting no preference
sensitive to the rancid, ecstatic at tenderness
your nostrils flaring/folding/flaring with tidal nuance
keen to sniff each invisible stitch of meaning:
whether categorical, imaginary, or subliminally intended

secondly—you stunner, you monster!—
it is your quills I clap eyes on—fine-frilled, outstanding!
deimatic display of sensitive silver, a collar
standing at dinosaurian attention
this is not your average were-hair, my bugbear
more like what a poet plucks for her pen, never mind your quivering
good thing she’s easily distractible, all dreamy at the moon
(your foe, your sorrow)
good thing she stopped humming out your name, greedy for attention
no idea you stood ready to behead her with your scimitar paw
she might have taken her handful right there
abandoned you, bare and bleeding, to jot down a verse
what then would be left for my necklace?

I save your scarlet heart for last—you lonebeast, lunewolf!—
your ardent heart: a top-shelf item, prize of my collection
we'll preserve it in a reliquary, gold-gilt, heart-shaped
a crystal windowpane winking glimpses at incarnadined flame:
your jewel, your red gem, molten and uncertain
surely you were hunted for this, once and again
surely they came after you with knives—steel and teeth by starlight
surely you were envied and hunted, harried and coveted
till you fled, scarred, scored, starving for your pack
obscuring your bright heart, silver quills, seeking nose
in domestic drudgery, cagey silences, lest you become
one more metaphor mounted on a wall,
trod upon as carpet, secreted in a cabinet,
turned into an instrument of poetry.

C. S. E. Cooney won the World Fantasy Award for Bone Swans in 2016 and the Rhysling Award for her poem "The Sea King's Second Bride" in 2011. Her collection Dark Breakers comes out from Mythic Delirium in February 2022, and her novel Saint Death’s Daughter two months later from Solaris.
Current Issue
3 Oct 2022

Lying in bed last night I felt fingers reach in, grabbing. I opened in spite of myself as you clawed me with your fingernails, flattened, panicked. Split throat, iron tongue, white masks ranged overhead, the rings on their fingers scraping me as they reached in to take you.
from my tower we climb, shroud as my veil. We leap on his fae steed
I tell smug Cyclops that I’m as gay as the next mutant, and that all mutants find themselves within battles
Get ready to feel hungry, because the theme for this quarterly roundup is food.
Wednesday: The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo 
Wednesday: Where You Linger & Other Stories by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam 
Issue 26 Sep 2022
Issue 21 Sep 2022
Issue 12 Sep 2022
Issue 5 Sep 2022
Issue 29 Aug 2022
By: Cat T.
Issue 22 Aug 2022
Issue 15 Aug 2022
Issue 8 Aug 2022
Issue 1 Aug 2022
Issue 18 Jul 2022
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