I used to believe there was bad in my groin.
It was proof of a boy’s black hand,
forcing my untouched open.

I used stiff stitches, canvas thread,
salve for my fire’s fits.
They subsided to coal, smoldering pain.
Deep circles in my throat, ripples of the unsaid words.
I was stark with sorrow.

My father always told me to carry a knife.
After five years, splitting one string at a time,
I know the boy’s real name.
As the stitches came undone, I said it out loud.

Now my naked laugh flashes gold;
my teeth are the color of salt and shatterproof.

Isabel Mader is now sprouting feathers. She is working on finishing her degree while simultaneously cooking, writing, and petting cats.

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