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GAR CHILD WISHES SHE WAS

a full-out mermaid, pebbles stuck in her gills

a bird sucking milkshakes down through her beak

a book with a loose spine, gar child cover in gold leaf

an apple-fed donkey, hooves sinkin' in pine quills

 

a black-top roller skater crashing over the hills

a busted-up lochness spitting teeth in the sink

an old fox with lead keys tied to her feet

a pond scum one-cell with cilia like lace frills

 

 

THE WITCH SETS A TRAP

The birds have taken your bread away

and you are all mouths / your knees open wounds,

your cheeks imprinted with thistles.

 

The birds have taken your bread away

and lips crack open your elbows,

all your sockets / coming undone.

 

The birds have taken your bread away

and hunger flanks you like scales / your mouths

pool water & tar.

 

It’s lonely in the forest. It’s lonely in your rum-shined stomach. I’m coming for you, gar child, to pull out those extra teeth. Those bird heads like puppets on my thumbs.

 

Your chunks of bread safe

underneath my split lips / the hole in my breast

stiff with gunpowder.

 

Your chunks of bread safe

to stash in the waist of your tights / between those

multiplying fins.

 

Your chunks of bread safe

in my powdered hands.

Stick out your chin / go ahead

 

and pull the locket off my neck. You’ve pouted in this lonely forest, but I'll feed your steel-trap mouths.

 

Don’t cower, gar child, from all this plenty.

 

 

THE WITCH PROVIDES

gar child needed this turret / this barrel she circles /vaseline coating the rim / her brain a werther's /caramel / her fins ragged / like worrying a fingernail / til it bleeds / needed to grow safe / year by year / no hope of princes / no hope of a princess / in stolen armor / gar child / one day you'll be a woman / with a tooth-split grin