i put u in back of my shoulders / where u can see me only / where i can only imagine the shape
of myself / shimmering into a stream / the streamliness of a closed vein / silver under a night like
a fish / blue like the crab you are / i put u where i won’t know how you’ve opened me / until i’m
open

reading about animals can feel like an evil / unless it is like an eating / unless it is a reading with
the body / which can hold other bodies within it / which can make us sick with them / which can
make of us / amber

which can make of us / traps of viscosity and air

do u imagine me drippy
do u think me a bottle overturned

it is maddening / the way i can’t write to you with my body / i am sick with exports / i am sick
with unmarking / and the knowledge that what lives in my stomach is not contingent on what i
put in my mouth /
i can swallow you until i die
i will swallow you until i die / but loving is something different

it is an embarrassment the way i cry / when i talk about farm animals / but / a clumsiness i don’t
want to lose / HOW NOT TO BE EMBARRASSED / how to incorporate the flush / how to re
member / this talk is still labor if i love you / the defense of my own tears is still an exhaustion if
i love you / the unreasonable tears for animal sensations / the way i imagine myself a cow /
though i know projection is lazy thinking / it’s just that being made pregnant by force / resonates
too much / when i think about cows / i try to verbalize and it is labor / i try to move the trauma
from my stomach / and it is labor

i have been hurt on the inside of my body by good people
i trust u and i am afraid

i put u in back of my shoulders where my tattoo is / where u can see me only and the gently wounded deer /

it is never only me you will get / but the flesh of me

.

.


Liz Bowen is a poet and doctoral student in English and comparative literature at Columbia University. She spends a lot of time thinking and writing about unruly bodies; friendship, care and desire; and animals in the woods. Her work has recently appeared in The Atlas Review, Gigantic Sequins, and Shabby Doll House, and her first poetry collection, SUGARBLOOD, is forthcoming from Metatron Press.

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