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Melissa Broder



What if the dogs got quiet
and their fur was my hair
and they licked my face
but it was me licking my own face
also my heart
and the licking built a new kingdom
but the kingdom wasn't in the sky
it was in my hands and on my face
also in my heart
and I let me be the kindly dogs
and I saw the dogs were always kind
they had just been disguised
or maybe they were kind and horrible both
roaming the woods in circles
until one day they simply walked
out of the woods
the woods so full of knots
the knots possessing water
the dogs needing every lick of that water
until they were ready to leave the woods 
and when they were finally ready
there was still time
it wasn’t sundown
and the dogs looked at the sun
and the sun didn't burn their eyes
and the water in their bellies
and everything outside of them
was enough




At dawn they slit the nerve
Which connects me to a perfect place of darkness
Inside a giant husk
And they take me to its thighs
And lay me on the wintery thigh of this giant husk
Where inside it was summer
And all day long I beg to be let back in
I do this by living
I grow a rash of blood
And see things with my eyes
I see a flag on the thigh of the husk
I see an ocean almost like my husk
But it is not the same
My husk had a mellow sea
This one is frozen all the time
Even when the winter sun is blazing hot
They dress me up in beautiful robes
And quiet me up with cocks
And teach me how to vomit
Until I go mistaking pleasure for joy
And forget the husk completely




Melissa Broder is the author of three collections of poems, most recently Scarecrone (Publishing Genius; 2014). Poems appear or are forthcoming in POETRY, Fence, The Iowa Review, The Missouri Review, Guernica, et al.