Out of the Eater

Arah Ko

I must find a way

out of this valley, its

donkey jaws, hyena

fur, the many glass

liquor bottles

impregnated with

liquid sun as they

undulate on my

windowsill like see-

through belly

dancers: they move

the way Delilah might

have, her fingers

tangled in so much

black hair. Her lover

always drunk

on rage & women

& hot honeycomb

clinging to the corpse

of the lion he tore

open with his own

bare hands. No one

survives this story.

My arm hairs rise

when I prod

my family tree for wine-

colored bruises: the

alcohol & violence,

my grandfather’s

lush breath when he

beat his wife, broke

cups & doors, how

he stopped drinking

with a single prayer.

I pretend to know

how much strength

& uncut hair it takes

to outrun seven

generations of

fire. Is hope & wrath

within me, like the seed

in a peach?

Behind a lion’s soft

black lips sleeps

so many teeth.

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