45. by Margaret Mary Riley


If you touch me I will burn your hands
first we will talktalktalk
you will shudder
I want to drag the cicada off your arm
you will try to pull the Mississippi river off my spine
tomorrow I will talk to you in a different language
you will pull me back to bed
I’d like to find the gaps between your vertebrae your heart shakes in my hands
we will talktalktalk
I don’t want you to shudder
you will kiss my shoulder
I will rip the cicada off your arm
you will kiss the stack of books on my ribs and shoulder and bite the head off the crow
I won’t flinch.

~ Margaret Mary Riley


Margaret Mary Riley was raised in the American South. She is often unintelligible. She obtained gratuitous debt and a B.A. in Political Science from Agnes Scott College. Her work has been featured in East Coast Ink, InPatient Press, Typehouse Magazine, and Round Up. riley.margaretmary@gmail.com