by Emma Bolden

Inside the garden I could pretend

I had caught fever, a frenzy of fire


flowers, the ochre ache one expects

of a tree. I could hear passion, a hum


trapped in the tooth of the wolf

I watched until she trusted me


with her hunger. I wore her

hide. I was a revival, an August,


a shattered crescendo of wishing

for wanting, this ragged waiting


inside of. I choked. The blood

I expected. I said that I wanted.


I said that I wanted to be flayed

and carnal, I said that I wanted


to be thrust and shuddered

under any him willing to be violent


as a god. I said that I wanted to

understand the point and the hilt


of the sword, I wanted to know

life gorged and garnet as


the howl inside of every red.

I tasted fang and honey heavy


as hatred, I tasted tongue, I wanted

this ragged with waiting, with shame.

Emma Bolden is the author of two full-length collections of poetry: medi(t)ations (Noctuary Press, 2016) and Maleficae (GenPop Books, 2013). She’s also the author of four chapbooks of poetry — How to Recognize a Lady (Toadlily Press); The Mariner’s Wife, (Finishing Line Press); The Sad Epistles (Dancing Girl Press); This Is Our Hollywood(The Chapbook) – and one nonfiction chapbook – Geography V (Winged City Press). A Barthelme Prize and Spoon River Poetry Review Editor’s Prize winner, her work has appeared in The Best American Poetry and The Best Small Fictions as well as such journals as The Rumpus, Prairie Schooner, Conduit, and Copper Nickel.