The Black Napkin Volume 1 Issue 5 - Page 16

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two poems by aryk greenawalt

a tender thing

"When is a monster not a monster?

Oh, when you love it."

— Caitlyn Siehl

Listen, darling. I am on my knees before you.

I am holding your claws against my palms

and praying

to God, to the night,

to your hesitant breath,

that you will be gentle.

There are skid marks in the dirt where you tried to run

and I wouldn’t let you.

The bark scraped away from old trees.

The clothes torn away from my flesh,

sacrificial and raw.

My palms against your burning chest,

against the ivory curves of your fangs,

against the jagged edges of your body.

My palms, raised, reverent.

The sound that builds in your chest,

low and old and restless,

a forest burning.

My palms, begging: Stay, stay.

Tell me, now, that you are the monster in this story,

instead of me.