by Sade Collier

There is the sticky juice of a ripened peach.

The wrinkle of a mother’s hand. A basket of air

where apples used to be. The maiden-born sit wounded

in the room, glazed with fuel, dull-eyed.

I saw my mother in it,

calloused fingers, short nails. Her hands

snaked around the stem of a famished wine glass―

nurturing that extinguished flame:

what men have done to us women

and the ways we have become undone.

I learned it underneath the fluorescent lights,

cracked husk and bleeding knuckles. It stung―

the failed travel from this realm to the next, throat full

of charcoal and sour cry.

Naked and drenched in seraphimic hospital sweat,

her hand clasped around mine;

I thought about that immortalized clock resting

in the nestle of a woman’s breasts,

her cherry eyes tending to the white fuzz of morning

on the tongue.

A cough into postnasal drip, I asked my mother,

among the lamb-stricken, curled into fetal position,

of a story born from sewing needles

and thread, of a blanket stitched from lovehands.

She held up a watercolor painting;

women with hooves at the center, holding cheap moscato,

slashed by the red hollow of desire.

A wanting thing, I learn, hold a chunk of breath

in my cheeks, chew on its pulp.

A throat of empathy

for the roadkill doe.

Sade Collier is an upcoming second-year student at New York University. She has been published in Beyond Words Literary Magazine, Prometheus Dreaming, and other reputable literary magazines. When she’s not writing or working, you can find her snuggled up and watching anime next to her Leo partner and Aries cat. 

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