by Karah Kemmerly
in a swamp, I hid her. a mistake: nothing rests easy in a swamp. she keeps slinking back around the back of the house & crawling up to my kitchen all wet. I made her though, so I can’t ignore her outright. she isn’t happy. I let her in & she complains about the cold. you gave up all your warmth I say. you asked not to have a body. she knows I am right. yeahyeahyeah she tells me. she keeps her hands to herself in my home, doesn’t touch the cats or the plants. which is good because her hands are a wreck. mostly bone, all spindly & covered in bite marks. do you want something to eat I taunt. I wonder if she remembers who killed her. I must look like a vacuum to her now, my want buried underneath all this hair & muscle. does the night feel totally different to you she asks me. when she tries to take a sip, the tea spills down the corners of her ruined mouth. she doesn’t stay long, but she leaves her scent: cypress & sundew. after she is gone, the night comes. narrow & indiscriminate. in the dark, my teeth (stronger now) find a thumb.
Karah Kemmerly (she/her) is a queer writer who grew up in northern California and completed her MFA at Oregon State University. Her poems can be found in Breakwater Review, The Shore, Roanoke Review, and Redivider. She currently lives and teaches in Portland, Oregon.