Call me lashes in the morning, rope-of-the-dog, bitter glimpse of the ocean’s lip. Call me bared to your teeth, but know that I bite back and spray. Filth like water, water like wine—I’m home in the body, but the body’s grown wrong. Sometimes joy comes in the morning, black cloud dropped into the puddle of me. If this is ecstasy, I’ll marry it to my skin with ink. If he wrote me as his seventh girl, this is not as true as the X I carve of my own back or the trap bridge I decorate with the glint of my broke rib. You may think of me as riding on a splintered mast, legs spread and holy to the eye, but I am still more red-fingered dawn—still more self-pillaged, canvas-sacked.

Daniel Carter