There is a monster that lives in me.
It paces, drums a staccato beat against my chest,
reaches a fist through my mouth.
I bite before it passes through.
Flesh ribboning under my teeth,
I fall asleep to the bloom of iron and salt
and there are mornings that I wake
with a swollen tongue and sore ribs
and the taste of raw meat on my lips

and I wake to you sending me photos of a dawn
in another city, and I think yes, the sun bursting
through the clouds is you, you are the morning
streaming through the windows.
Me? I am a thunderstorm at midnight.
Eventually, lightning bolts grow old.
People want their rest. But you call me
M’lady and I want to ask why
and monster and me alike wants
to sink teeth and fang into you,
hold you still and gather you up close.
Even a monster wants to be warmed

and you say I like you. It stings
the kindly way only a consolation prize can.
I say I love you and I hope she knows
what she has with you and you reply Thank you.
I want to think I am generous.
What I had actually meant to say was
you looked beautiful last night in the rain
but I bit the words down the same way I did
my tongue’s urge to chart the salt trails on your skin,
the ones that emerge each time I crash through boundaries
and you stutter your way back to safe territory.
We kept colliding into each other that night;
hands and legs and shoulders crashing
for one flesh-warm second and
moving away before they could tangle.
I want to ask How do you keep forgetting the time
when you talk to me? 
I want to know if it means something

but We’re getting married this year you say and
she’s an angel you tell me and angel
is the furthest thing I feel right now.
There is a monster stirring in my belly.
I’ve locked it out with my teeth so it feasts on my insides
and carves out a space in the shape of you.
I wonder what will happen when I run out of organs
to feed it, if it will split open from my skin
if I will wake one red morning to find
that it has crawled out howling,
if it will look exactly like me.


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