Kami Westhoff & Elizabeth Vignali


(green-banded broodsac to the amber snail)

I know it seems unfair, but have you seen what I look like?
Teeth a flurry of cyclone, lips puckered like an asshole.
I blinked to life in a puddle of excrement in skin its perfect match.
Before you drank me in, I drowned a thousand siblings.
Stamped my stump on their faces until their eyes burst
and I rose to your lips, slipped into your sweet pink mouth.

I take my time in the core of your body.
Here, I am the adorable magnet pinning the precious first painting.
The plush lovey keeping the child in its own bed all night long.
Soon I erupt into the stalk of your eye, throb color into drab.
You are blinded, no longer afraid of sunlight,
and when it strikes we quiver and strobe
and I make you irresistible.

In another incarnation, we pinched each other's cheeks,
crushed berries and rubbed their blood onto our lips.
We tightened corsets until our ribs were more cave than cage.
Practiced first kisses on the backs of hands we'd lotioned into silk.
We promised we'd never forget what we meant before
something came along and made us matter.

Kami Westhoff's work has appeared or is forthcoming in various journals including Meridian, Phoebe, Third Coast, Carve, Sundog Lit, decomp, Prism Review, The Pinch, Redivider, and Passages North. She teaches Creative Writing at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA.

Elizabeth Vignali is an optician and writer. Her poems have appeared in various publications, including Willow Springs, Crab Creek Review, Nimrod, Floating Bridge Review, and Menacing Hedge. Her chapbook, Object Permanence, is available from Finishing Line Press. She lives in Bellingham, Washington with her daughters, a venerable Chihuahua, and two geriatric cats.

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