The Females of Some Species are Larger by L Favicchia

My instinct is not to bite.
Instead I’ll show you all
my little square teeth,
point them out to you
one by one name them
then leave my mouth open
and breathe.

Enamel speaks a thing you can’t
understand—the grain of sand
churning in the oyster
who layers thick saliva
over and over until pearl
to numb the gnawing and is still
left with a tender lump inside—
one she is torn apart for.

Why isn’t the female larger
and more colorful? Give me
the terrified red veins
of the albino raven,
the deep flush and large forearms
of the orchid mantis, also afraid.
Let me have fiery long hair that stings
with the smell of burning oak.

When I skin myself, I skin myself
in front of a mirror to see
all that pretty muscle.

I rehearse what crying looks like,
in my wardrobe keep buttons
that close soft bobbled sweaters
and feel an increasing desire
to become mud, to lie

beneath leaf litter and hide
from grabbing hands
that would put themselves inside me,
playing dead to save myself
from the salt of their fingertips
that craves a wound.

 

L Favicchia is a PhD student in creative writing at the University of Kansas and is the editor in chief of LandLocked. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Hobart, Post Road, and Glass: A Journal of Poetry, among others.

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