Parlay

Is it that I’ve become
the kind of woman who becomes
like the men she’s loved?Careless, callous about the white string
laced between her fingers, the pulse of organ
and trust, entitled to the world,
the thrust:

He warned me about becoming,
about wrenching the dial backwards
into boyhood, scorning my breasts and shame,
the lift and drop of skirt
in accordance to the seasons—
a woman’s reasons—
well, there’s never an epiphany.

These days I consort with longshoremen
over tables of menstrual shell
and barter, baring my teeth,

my language like the knife that slices the oyster,
savoring the gore as much—
if not more—
than the delicacy of meat.

I challenge bodies
but do not love them.

Now I know how sirens feel
when reeling in a fresh catch of sailors;
it’s not the luring, not the love at all,
but the becoming of something
almost human.


Emily Linstrom is a writer & artist living in Italy. Her work has been featured in various publications including Nailed Magazine, Prick of the Spindle, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Scrutiny Journal, Flapperhouse, The Wayward Post, The Wisdom Daily, and Yes Poetry, as October’s featured poet. She was the first prize recipient of Pulp Literature Press’s 2015 The Raven short story contest, and is a regular contributor for Quail Bell Magazine, as well as faculty historian for The School of Witchery. You can view her work at: www.emilylinstrom.com and follow her adventures on Instagram at betterlatethan_em

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