On tiptoe I

extend my fingers

toward the dark mouths

of stage’s end, their

glittering rows of hot teeth.

On whose shoulders

do I live?

My toes grip,

my calves bulge

like nervous eyes.

I can trust him

with my neck.

He is the strong man,

these are the shoulders

I tried to push away

when last night he

went drunk into

my caravan and found

me sprawled in

green velvet and moon rays.

Now I rise

by his hand,

my waist supported.

I arch my back—

back, back.

My throat meets

my bare feet, and

my smile meets his.

Last night’s injury

flutters inside my

belly like a bottled moth

with dust-draped wings.

It will die there.

The strong man lowers me,

legs split, to the floor.

I beam.


Emilia Joan Hamra lives in Philadelphia where she founded and edits The Shoutflower, a print journal of art and literature. She studied Creative Writing at Arizona State University, has worked as a copy-editor for Four Way Books, and was the recipient of the national Norman Mailer College Poetry Award. Her work is published or forthcoming in Occulum, giallo lit, Santa Ana River Review, the tiny, and others. You can find her on Instagram @shetalkstobees

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