Soft Coral Siren

by Elizabeth Kate Switaj

I didn't feel    when you cut out my spine

              I'd been throwing up all night

         couldn't even smell the rust

                       until you told me     hold your hand

                                        or make you leave

             and I just rolled in setting stains, ecru sheets

  Creatures bendable as me     only safe in sea

                                 & still devoured  Every night

                               I rise to breathe

                                      & hear you

             drop fire on my vertebrae

        You do not hear me sing  you

      I do not smell singed bone

    or whatever sort of tear you give

     to keep my nerves encased in . . .