Before there were men, there were hours
of limbs on linen and imaginary cherry-bombs.
Great marble bodies outstretched in heat. Orchids
tied to bed posts. I was the first infant with an appetite for rats.
A goat’s head hangs above my mattress. She wears a prayer over her horns.
I cannot name things I do not love
so she is only a goat. In my sleep I name her after myself. In my sleep
I am only a goat.
Before there were men there were moths. Before all this
Skin. Before there were words for things like this. This body.
A hideous carnation. A marriage of carnivores. Still flesh
cannot thrive without father, so in which organ shall we bury him?
Once I knew a river so shiny I grew gills.
Fish are filthy liars, and with all these bones
I’ll never swim. In my sleep I am only a fish. I’ll lie
so flat and so still on the water’s surface you’ll think me a lily pad.
Mitchell Angelo is a junior Creative Writing major at SUNY Purchase, with a focus in poetry and a minor in Theatre & Performance. His work covers topics like gender, the environment, and anything pancake shaped.