‘Rumors of Women’, Laura Cranehill

Illustrations © 2021 Carmen Moran

 [ Eel, © 2021 Carmen Moran ] The eel that slides within the dark
gap where it has been sleeping.
Now, I clench my stomach
as it rustles awake.
In the street, the restaurant,
the outside world, I think
there is nothing to fear from me.
In my bedroom, alone, I think
they should be afraid. There is everything
to be feared from me.

To understand a woman,
we explore the woman
itself. Any woman’s body
expresses like the rest,
speaks for the rest. In dreams,
in the darkness. In the day
when everyone is watching.
We’ve all been wronged before.

We create nightmares, not realizing
they don’t need to stay
locked inside our heads.
As we breathe in our sleep
we pull them out, our throats
swell and extend
to make room.

Welcome, my love.
I’ve pulled you again, out
where our breath can mingle.
A kiss, a marriage, a ceremony,
a unity forbidden.
A unity to be feared.
You expand,
gory and stark
against the light-filled room.
There are rumors of women
making love to invertebrates.
Agape mouth matching
agape mouth.
They are killed for it. My love,
if the crowd came
to my locked door with pitch forks
and fire, I’d swallow you if I could.
If I couldn’t, I would kill you and deny
I’ve been wronged before.

© 2021 Laura Cranehill

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