My Hand is a Muzzle. My Body is a Shield.

TW: Sexual Assault, Violence


My sisters and I puppet our bodies onto the front lines.

These corpses are already corpses. They are already crumbling.

I strap my body onto the back of my hollow spirit,

which refuses to burn out if only to carry this burden,

and stand with my sisters facing the hands and the mouths.


It is to tremble in your first body

facing a mouth that only knows how to eat,

a mouth with no ears to hear mercy and no lips to speak it.

It is to watch, floating far, far above that long forgotten body,

as it is diminished piece by piece.

I am considered, appraised, subtracted.


I am walking where I live.

It is not my home anymore.

Instead it is where the mouths are.

It is where I see a bright flash of teeth,

turning a corner or laughing with friends at dinner.

 “What a smile! What a laugh! What a silver tongue!”

Somehow I only remember what the teeth look like from the inside.


A mouth offers an insightful comment during seminar.

A mouth shouts a polite greeting to the woman manning the cafeteria line.

A mouth smiles at my friends, who smile back.

A mouth compliments my bashful instructor.


My friends say,

“Don’t you know there’s no such thing as mouths?”


My sisters and I steel ourselves in front of gnashing teeth.

My sisters and I stand firm among many hands.

We are here to seal them away with our bodies.

This is what we kept them for.