by gabriella mcfield
content warnings: violence, implications of sexual assault
you are scabbed with the breath of dawn, and perhaps this sounds far more appealing than its actuality. you sit in the first room of your house at 6 am on a tuesday and here is where you first discover that your bones are fissuring at the junctions of your body when light leaks from them like sweat down to the parquet. at first you do not tell me that it’s because your throat tastes sour, rancid milk, that your stomach aches and you can no longer live off only bits of your own skin. you never tell me of the insistent (a euphemism for unwanted) tongue between your thighs.
despite your secrecy (a sin???), you are still somewhat of a half-formed deliverance besides me. your lips cradle the hot pooling sun like the swollen breast of the moon cradles the darkness. i tell you this, and you shake your head til a smile drips across your mouth and insists melted butter. you are holy to me, still, with your cherub thighs swathed in a dirtied checkered tablecloth, and i try to be like you. i cannot. my bones do not yet know how to give and bend. promise you'll teach me how?
so you hold like that and carve open my chest with a bread knife, for your tongue is not as sharp as you desire it to be. far from murder: i wanted you to saw through me clean so my body gushed hot iron like a farther away sun. ultraviolent. my heart pulsing bloody in your cupped palms as the fates paused in their searing flight to peek through the slats of our shutters. i tell you what they have always known: that this house will rot but never fall. that we have been buried here forever. and i presume that when they look down upon this carnage, they will smile.
Gabriella McField is a queer Afro-Asian in love with words and everything green, growing, and wild. Her work therefore often touches on the body or the wilderness in some way--you can read it in The Bitter Fruit Review and Velvet Fields, among others. When she's not writing poetry, she's working as the Co-Editor-in-Chief of Ogma Magazine. She tweets @gardencries.
Caitlin is an illustrator based in Falmouth, Cornwall. After completing her Foundation Art and Design Cert HE in UWTSD 2020- Caitlin began studying a BA in Illustration at Falmouth University, following her passion for art and drawing- and creating striking visual imagery both the artist and audience can lose themselves in. Greatly inspired by line and pattern- much of Caitlin’s practice in centred around detail in mesmerising designs.