Once the boys were goldfish and all the girls
were rings, tossed and bouncing from bowl to bowl.
If not for the clink of plastic on glass,
we’d never have known the frenzy,
how it sorted itself to tinny song. The funhouse
mirrors tripped us up, caught our bottled necks,
each turn in the murky neon telling a truth
in thighs and teeth, telling us what we already knew
we were. So I filled my arms with rubber snakes
and phosphor. I dragged my stranger limbs
beyond the tilt-a-whirl lights. One by one,
I tied tails to incisors and held tight to the chain link.
One by one they tugged free, newborn
rattlers trailing my mouthblood from their tails.
—from Horizon of the Dog Woman (Saint Julian Press, Inc., 2020)
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