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Eleanor Claire 

before, you do not know

how your mouth will go dry


for a year after she cuts

into you, as if her soft hands

will also excise your tongue,

and you will be all teeth, all bite


with no warning and maybe this

is what you wanted all along:

permission to no longer spit

out your own words, permission


to let yourself burn like a signal

fire of only blaze and ash

before, you only know how

that final night with your flesh

unscarred, the street turns dark

with smoke and for a moment,


you wonder if you, too, are

aflame or if this is simply

some foreboding fate, a judgment

from the the heavens,


a cursed sign of what

is to come

Eleanor Claire is a disabled, queer, and nonbinary South Floridian who works as a therapist in Chicago. She studied poetry at the University of Miami under Maureen Seaton and John Murillo. Their work has been featured or is forthcoming in The Cape Rock, In Parenthesis, DeLuge Journal, Plainsongs Magazine, South Florida Poetry Journal, and others.

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