Colleen S. Harris


Men stroked my skin for salvation,
pressed their thumbs deep to impress my flesh
and sent me trembling into the arms of my night-ghasts
when their fantasies were done.
Men spoke of my magicks hoarsely
in the torn fabric of dark. Men left me bruised,
mute and nude with no covering but my mussed hair
to face the harsh judge of dawn.

Men wrapped their tongues around
the syllables of my name, they ate the delicacies
I prepared, and left me a stranger,
surrounded by the cold luxuries their coin provided.

Men came to me. The old. The young.
Even the crippled came, to feel un-lame and whole.
They plumbed the depths of my flesh to find
themselves, and returned to their wives no wiser.

Men's weaknesses. My body. Gold. On these
shifting sands have I built my lonesome empire.
It will outlast Caesar's so long as men try to find
their salvation in a soft body not their own.

Colleen S. Harris is an assistant professor and librarian at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where they don't mind her tattoo habit and poetry addiction, and is currently working on her MFA in creative writing at Spalding University. Her poetry has appeared in Creekwalker, Survivor's Review, Poetry Midwest, Ruminate and kaleidowhirl.



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