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2020 Poetry

Emilie Menzel

I PULL MY LEAF LEG STOCKINGS OFF MY BODY

Not recognizing my personhood has been problematic to me in the past, but my savagery is genderless and sleeps my body into exhaustion. Not everything we touch must touch the high holy. Not all nights are undrugged sleep. Bathing is a way to feel small inside a soap dish. Bathing is a way to practice your folding.

A sweet little savagery, he tells me, you exhibit, my lips licked. I leave my gloves folded tidy at the edge of the sink, turn to face him. There’s a too large dose of his first person crowding my consciousness lately. It is a bizarre little body, but we keep it as a specimen, a lab rat pet. And what is a speed of want?

She builds a ladder from the roof, climbs the sky like a bird. But have you heard of a bird needing a step stool, slowly the spilling swallows: torsos reared, mouths ready to bite, it’s feeling freshly horrored, it’s in the dream my mouth gaping, crowding with carapace, with trees.


​​Emilie Menzel is a poet, writer, and finder. Her writing has appeared with Black Warrior ReviewMichigan Quarterly Review, and Tupelo Quarterly, amongst others, and she is the recipient of the Deborah Slosberg Memorial Award in Poetry (selected by Diana Khoi Nguyen) and Cara Parravani Memorial Award in Fiction (selected by Leigh Newman). Emilie is the curator of The Gretel, a contributing editor for The Seventh Wave, and a children’s librarian in-training. She lives in wooded North Carolina.